SATURDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
Ez 37: 21-28; Jer 31: 10-13; Jn 11: 45-56
LET NOT ADVERSITY INHIBIT YOUR GOODNESS
Today’s Gospel is the repercussion of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead. There were two kinds of eyewitnesses at the scene. Some, who admired, believed in him; while others, who were upset, complained to his adversaries, the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees. The latter were seeking every opportunity to trap him. According to them, Jesus was creating havoc and misguiding the flock.
The ruling body of the Temple, the Sanhedrin, had a meeting to discuss Jesus’ popularly influencing the people. They concluded that if it grows, they will no more be able to control the people and lose their power and influence over them. Furthermore, as a consequence, the people might start revolting against their authority as well as the Romans, and would incite the latter to overrun the land. Hence, Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, said to them, “It is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.”
Pope Francis has a very profound understanding of this text. Acknowledging that Jesus died for his people and for everyone, he emphasises that this truth must not be applied generically; it means that Jesus died not just for ‘all’ but specifically for every one of us individually. And this is the ultimate expression of his love for us.
Jesus did the will of his Father and willingly laid down his life for our sake. That is how he expressed his love. He did no wrong to anyone, yet they falsely accused him. Despite this, he did not stop loving and serving others. This attitude of his is fully realized at the Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples, an action that manifests his humility in serving others, rather than expecting them to serve him. Let us ask ourselves today; do I abandon by good intentions and charitable endeavours at the first sign of adversity or rejection?
Response: The Lord will keep us, as a shepherd keeps his flock.
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