Wednesday - Lent Time
1) Opening prayer
Our God and Father,
you keep seeking us out
with love as passionate as a mother's love,
even when we have abandoned you.
Give us hope and courage,
especially when we feel uncertain.
Reassure us that you want us to live
in the security of your love
and that you stay with us
through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 5, 17-30
Jesus answer to the Jews was, 'My Father
still goes on working, and I am at work, too.' But that only made the Jews even
more intent on killing him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but
he spoke of God as his own Father and so made himself God's equal.
To this Jesus replied: In all
truth I tell you, by himself the Son can do nothing; he can do only what he
sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too. For the
Father loves the Son and shows him everything he himself does, and he will show
him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you.
Thus, as the Father raises the
dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses; for the
Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all
may honour the Son as they honour the Father. Whoever refuses honour to the Son
refuses honour to the Father who sent him.
In all truth I tell you, whoever
listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life;
without being brought to judgement such a person has passed from death to life.
In all truth I tell you, the hour
is coming -- indeed it is already here -- when the dead will hear the voice of
the Son of God, and all who hear it will live. For as the Father has life in
himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and, because
he is the Son of man, has granted him power to give judgement.
Do not be surprised at this, for
the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his
voice: those who did good will come forth to life; and those who did evil will
come forth to judgement. By myself I can do nothing; I can judge only as I am
told to judge, and my judging is just, because I seek to do not my own will but
the will of him who sent me.
The Gospel of John is different from the other three. It reveals a more
profound dimension which only faith is able to perceive in the words and
gestures of Jesus. The Fathers of the Church would say that the Gospel of John
is “spiritual”, it reveals what the Spirit makes one discover in
the words of Jesus (cf. Jn 16, 12-13). A beautiful example of this spiritual
dimension of the Gospel of John is the passage which we are going to meditate
John 5, 17-18: Jesus explains the profound meaning of the healing of the
paralytic. Criticized by the Jews for having cured on Saturday, Jesus
answers: “My Father still goes on working, and I am at work too!” The
Jews taught that no work could be done on Saturday, because even God had rested
and had not worked on the seventh day of creation (Ex 20, 8-11). Jesus affirms
the contrary. He says that the Father has always worked even until now. And
for this reason, Jesus also works, and even on Saturday. He imitates his
Father! For Jesus the work of creation is not finished as yet. God continues to
work, unceasingly, day and night, holding up the Universe and all of us. Jesus
collaborates with the Father continuing the work of creation in such a way that
one day all may be able to enter into the eternal rest that has been promised.
The reaction of the Jews was violent. They wanted to kill him for two reasons: because
he denied the sense of Saturday and for saying he was equal to God.
John 5, 19-21: It is love which allows the creative action of God to shine
and be visible. These verses reveal something of the relationship between
Jesus and the Father. Jesus, the Son, lives permanently attentive before the
Father. What he sees the Father do, he does it also. Jesus is the reflection of
the Father. He is the face of the Father! This total attention of the Son to
the Father makes it possible for the love of the Father to enter totally into
the Son and through the Son, carry out his action in the world. The great
concern of the Father is that of overcoming death and to give life. It is a way
of continuing the creative work of the Father.
John 5, 22-23: The Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgment to
the Son. What is decisive in life is the way in which we place ourselves before the Creator, because it radically depends on him. Now the Creator
becomes present for us in Jesus. The plenitude of the divinity dwells in Jesus
(cf. Col 1, 19). And therefore, according to the way in which we are before
Jesus, we express our position before God, the Creator. What the Father wants
is that we know him and honour him in the revelation which he makes of himself
John 5, 24: The life of God in us through Jesus. God is life, he is
creating force. Wherever he is present, there is life. He becomes present in
the Word of Jesus. The one who listens to the word of Jesus as a word that
comes from God has already risen. He has already received the vivifying touch
which leads him beyond death. Jesus passed from death to life. The proof of
this is in the healing of the paralytic.
John 5, 25-29: The resurrection is already taking place. All of us are
the dead who still have not opened ourselves to the voice of Jesus which comes
from the Father. But “the hour will come” and it is now, in which the dead will
hear the voice of the Son of God and those who will listen, will live”. With
the Word of Jesus which comes from the Father, the new creation begins; it is
already on the way. The creative word of Jesus will reach all, even those who
have already died. They will hear and will live.
John 5, 30: Jesus is the reflection of the Father. “By myself I can do nothing;
I can judge only as I am told to judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek
to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me”. This last phrase is the
summary of all that has been said before. This was the idea that the community
of the time of John had and diffused regarding Jesus.
4) Personal questions
How do you imagine the relationship between Jesus and the Father?
How do you live faith in the resurrection?
5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh is tenderness and pity,
slow to anger, full of faithful
is generous to all,
tenderness embraces all his creatures. (Ps 145,8-9)