Daily Reflection – 4/12/19
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.( John 10:31-42)
Notice that Jesus doesn’t flinch. He speaks the truth. But he does invite his critics to see that his words aren’t empty words. And so he invites the acid test. He says to them: “If I do not perform My Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
In effect, he was saying: “I do not ask you to accept my words. But I do ask you to accept my deeds.” He tells them that if they do not wish to believe his words, then they should believe him on account of the deeds he has done in his Father’s name.
A word is something about which one can argue; but a deed is something beyond argument. Jesus does not base his claims on what he says, but on what he does. As it was for Jesus, so must it be for us. We sometimes hear it said: “You’ve talked the talk; now let’s see you walk the walk”.
Eight hundred years ago, a wealthy young man went around gathering friends around himself and preaching to people about poverty, humility, and absolute abandonment and trust in God’s providence. His wealthy father, furious at his seeming disregard for property, challenged him before the bishop to be true to his words. The young man proceeded to take off all his clothes and handed them over to his father—his ultimate act of living concretely and genuinely, the poverty, humility, and absolute trust in Divine Providence which he had preached.
When many years later, Francis of Assisi was ordained a deacon, he chose not to be ordained a priest in fidelity to the commitment to total humility that he had made to God and to himself many years before. Francis knew how to “talk”, but he knew how to put flesh and blood to that “talk”. He “walked the walk”. His actions bore witness to the genuineness of his words.
Prayer of The Day
Write upon my heart, O Lord, the lessons of your holy word, and grant that I may be a doer of your word, and not a forgetful hearer only.”
Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power to those who believe. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world. Are you a doer of God’s word, or a forgetful hearer only?