The reading in today’s gospel reminds us of the inevitability
of Jesus’ final accomplishment of His mission – in his death and resurrection.
The entire chapter of John’s gospel from which the passage today is taken
is about Jesus and the very mixed response that he elicits by his preaching
to the people; some responses are positive (“This is truly the Prophet”)
and others are negative to Jesus (“The Christ will not come from Galilee,
Guards had been sent out to arrest Jesus, but the guards, having listened
to Jesus were so impressed that they could not arrest him. So we get
a clear picture that Jesus is indeed a controversial figure to the people.
The Pharisees contend that anyone who hears Jesus, such as the guards, have
been “deceived” by him and yet others still seem to be open to what Jesus
says and how he challenges them.
The division that occurs among the people who hear Jesus reminds us to ask
ourselves how we are affected by Jesus. We have to ask this because
for us, too, Jesus’ words and actions are critical by which I mean that his
words (and actions) demand a response. If we are to be women and men
of faith, our response to Jesus and to his challenges in the gospel is indeed
When Jesus asks his disciples in another place in the gospels, “who do you
say that I am?,” the response they give is crucial for their growing
understanding of and affection for Jesus. We, too, as contemporary
followers of Jesus, have to continue to formulate an answer to the question
of who Jesus is for us. The answer we give is crucial to our growth as women
and men of (growing) faith.
As we continue our journey through lent, we need to be continuously open
to the Word of God. As we make this yearly and important journey, we
pray to open ourselves to the ever-deeper entrance of Christ into our minds
Lord, help me to grow in my understanding of who you are and how you continue
to call me into life. Let me continue to be open to you and to respond
to your voice amidst the din of clamoring voices that call me away from you,
from others, and from my best self. Be the source of my growing in
faith, in hope, and in love.