SATURDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Ez 37: 21-28 Ezekiel foretells God’s restoring of the people to their land and his promise to dwell with them and be their God.
Gospel: Jn 11: 45-56 Without realizing what he says, Caiaphas decrees that it is expedient that one man should die for his people.
GOD IS ALWAYS VICTORIOUS
In today’s Gospel text, the first two verses conclude the miracle story of the raising of Lazarus. This miracle had evoked a varied response. The number who believed in Jesus was greater, as the text describes – “many…put their faith in Him””, while some did not believe in him and reported the same to the chief priests and the Pharisees. The central reason why this worried the Jewish authorities was their fear of their own loss of power. They were concerned about the growing popularity of Jesus. The enthusiasm Jesus presence created in the people, disturbed them. Are we aware of our own selfish attitudes in our religious endeavours? Are we truly concerned about the mission of Jesus or worried about what others will say?
Caiaphas, who was high priest, addressed the council thus: “It is to your advantage to have one man die…than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” He preferred Jesus to die rather than the whole nation to be in trouble with the Romans. This decision was taken totally for his political advantage. The early Christian community regarded Caiaphas’ prophecy in line with Jesus’ saying: “The Son of Man has come. to give his life as a ransom for many”. It was regarded as a prophecy of the salvific nature of Jesus’ death.
The death of Jesus was “not only for the nation Israel, but also for the scattered children of God” (Ez 34:16). John the Evangelist understood God’s purposes to be at work even in history. Do we continue to see God’s purpose at work in our lives, our nation and our world today, even when bad things happen? Jesus goes to his death when his hour arrives. It is God who decides that hour and not our human scheming or planning. We cannot upset God’s plan for the world. At times it may appear that evil is triumphant over good; but, just as in the death of Jesus, these are not permanent victories. God is always victorious.
Responsorial Psalm: Jer 31: 10-13 The Lord will keep us as a shepherd keeps his flock.
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