Gospel for March 22, 2013, Friday
5th Week of Lent
Psalter: Week 1
Ps 18:2–3a, 3bc–4, 5–6, 7
In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
1st Reading: Jer 20:10–13
I hear many people whispering, “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Yes, denounce him!” All my friends watch me to see if I will slip: “Perhaps he can be deceived,” they say; “then we can get the better of him and have our revenge.”
But Yahweh, a mighty warrior, is with me. My persecutors will stumble and not prevail; that failure will be their shame and their disgrace will never be forgotten. Yahweh, God of hosts, you test the just and probe the heart and mind.
Let me see your revenge on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to Yahweh! Praise Yahweh and say: he has rescued the poor from the clutches of the wicked!
Gospel: Jn 10:31–42
The Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus; so he said, “I have openly done many good works among you which the Father gave me to do. For which of these do you stone me?”
The Jews answered, “We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for insulting God; you are only a man and you make yourself God.”
Then Jesus replied, “Is this not written in your Law: I said: you are gods? So those who received this word of God were called gods and the Scripture is always true. Then what should be said of the one anointed and sent into the world by the Father? Am I insulting God when I say: ‘I am the Son of God’?
“If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you have no faith in me, believe because of the works I do, and know that the Father is in me and I in the Father.”
Again they tried to arrest him, but Jesus escaped from their hands. He went away again to the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John had baptized, and there he stayed.
Many people came to him and said, “John showed no miraculous signs, but he spoke of this man and everything he said was true.” And many became believers in that place.
In my life as a priest and religious, there are times when crises hit, conflicts emerge, and the going gets tough. One of the things I do then to find relief and get going is to visit the place where one of the deepest affirmations of my vocation had come. When it is not possible to visit that sacred place physically, I go there in my imagination. It always helps.
With conflicts and stone-pelting all around him, it might have been a deeply consoling experience for Jesus to return to “the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John had baptized.” It was where it all had begun, with his baptism and the first public affirmation from his Father that he indeed was his beloved Son, the Chosen One (see Matt 3:13-17). Returning to the place would have brought back many such memories, given rest to his soul, and fortified his resolve to walk the final leg of his earthly journey.
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