Thursday, March 17, 2016

“There is none so blind as the one who does not want to see.”

Gospel Text: (JN 8:51-59)
Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

Today in the gospel Jesus was addressing the Jews in the temple area and for them all that Jesus was and said were blasphemous and therefore deserving of death by stoning. They may have thought that they were being faithful to their understanding of God's Law but their blindness to all that Jesus did and taught made them misunderstand His mission.

What a tragic misunderstanding that was!  Little did they realize that by pretending to be religiously faithful to God (according to their "traditions") they were actually creating an obstacle to the deepest and true meaning of their tradition.  That tradition should have led them to accept the promised Messiah. Thus, their misguided religious fanaticism was in reality a betrayal of their tradition. How dangerous religious fanaticism can be!  Where can we find relief?  Do have an answer?

Ultimately God's answer is in the Cross, the Cross that is a mystery, a stumbling block to some and a scandal to others.  It is on the Cross that Jesus asks the Father to forgive us when we do not know what we are doing.  It is the Cross on which death gives way to new life. It is the Cross of mercy, forgiveness and understanding.

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