Friday - Lent Time
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you are a loyal God,
ever faithful to your promises.
Strengthen our faith,
that with Jesus we may always keep trusting in you
in spite of prejudices, ridicule or contradiction.
Give us the firm conviction
that you are irrevocably committed to us
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 10, 31-42
The Jews fetched stones to stone
him, so Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many good works from my Father;
for which of these are you stoning me?'
The Jews answered him, 'We are
stoning you, not for doing a good work, but for blasphemy; though you are only
a man, you claim to be God.' Jesus answered: Is it not written in your Law: I
said, you are gods? So it uses the word 'gods' of those people to whom the word
of God was addressed -- and scripture cannot be set aside. Yet to someone whom
the Father has consecrated and sent into the world you say, 'You are
blaspheming' because I said, 'I am Son of God.' If I am not doing my Father's
work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you
refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know
for certain that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.
They again wanted to arrest him
then, but he eluded their clutches.
He went back again to the far side
of the Jordan to the district where John had been baptising at first and he
stayed there. Many people who came to him said, 'John gave no signs, but all he
said about this man was true'; and many of them believed in him.
We are close to Holy Week, during which we commemorate and update the Passion,
Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Beginning with the fourth week of Lent, the
texts of the Gospel of every day are texts taken almost exclusively from the
Gospel of John, two chapters which stress the dramatic tension between the
progressive revelation, on the one side, which Jesus makes of the mystery of
the Father which fills him completely, and on the other side, the progressive
closing up of the Jews who always become more impenetrable to the message of
Jesus. The tragic aspect of this closing up is that they claim it is in
fidelity to God. They refuse Jesus in the name of God.
This way in which John presents the conflict between Jesus and the religious
authority is not only something which has taken place in the far past. It is
also a mirror which reflects what happens today. In the name of God, some
persons transform themselves into bombs and kill other persons. In the name of
God, we, members of the three religions of the God of Abraham, Jews, Christians
and Muslims, mutually condemn one another, fight among ourselves, throughout
history. Ecumenism is difficult among us, and at the same time it is necessary.
In the name of God, many horrible things have been committed and we continue to
commit them every day. Lent is an important period of time to stop and to ask
ourselves: Which is the image of God which I have within me?
John 10, 31-33: The Jews want to stone Jesus. The Jews prepare stone to
kill Jesus and Jesus asks: “I have shown you many good works from my Father,
for which of these are you stoning me?” The answer: “We are stoning you,
not for doing a good work, but for blasphemy; though you are only man, you
claim to be God”. They want to kill Jesus because he blasphemes. The law
ordered that such persons should be stoned.
John 10, 34-36: The Bible calls all sons of God. They want to kill Jesus
because he says he is God. Jesus responds in the name of the law of God itself.
“Is it not perhaps written in your Law: I said you are gods? Now, if the Law
has called gods those to whom the Word of God was addressed (and Scripture
cannot be set aside), to those whom the Father has consecrated and sent into
the world, and you say: You blaspheme, because I have said: I am the Son of
Strangely, Jesus says “your law”. He could have said: “our Law”. Why does he
speak in this way? Here appears again the tragic division between Jews and
Christians, brothers, sons of the same father Abraham, who became
irreconcilable enemies to the point that the Christians say “your law”, as if
it were not our law.
John 10, 37-38: At least believe in the works. Jesus again speaks of the
works that he does and which are the revelation of the Father. If I do not do
the works of the Father, there is no need to believe in me. But if I do them,
even if you do not believe in me, at least believe in the works I do, so that
you will believe that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. These are the
same words that he said at the Last Supper (Jn 14, 10-11).
John 10, 39-42: Once again they want to kill him, but he flees from their
clutches. There was no sign of conversion. They continue to say that Jesus
blasphemes and insist in killing him. There is no future for Jesus. His death
has been decided, but as yet his hour has not arrived. Jesus goes out and
crosses the Jordan going toward the place where John had baptized. In this way
he indicates the continuity of his mission with the mission of John. He helped
people to become aware of how God acts in history. The people recognize in
Jesus the one whom John had announced.
4) Personal questions
The Jews condemn Jesus in the name of God, in the name of the image that they
have of God. Sometimes, have I condemned someone in the name of God and then I
have discovered that I was mistaken?
Jesus calls himself “Son of God”. When in the Creed I say that Jesus is the Son
of God, which is the content that I give to my profession of faith?
5) Concluding Prayer
is my rock and my fortress,
deliverer is my God.
take refuge in him, my rock, my shield,
saving strength, my stronghold,
place of refuge. (Ps 18,2)