Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.( John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30)
Today’s scripture presents us with a panoply of human emotions . . . rejection, prejudice, uncertainty and rigidity. Not exactly positive expressions but certainly expressions that each of us have known and perhaps even expressed.
The Galileans rejected Jesus because He was not what they expected. They wanted certainty and He brought uncertainty to their beliefs. The Rabbis were not only guilty of that but they brought a prejudice. In their mind, he was from Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
Further, their teaching was that the Messiah would rise up as one would restore their dignity and rightful place as the chosen people of God.
In spite of these emotions around Him, Jesus perseveres. He continues to preach the Word of God. He continues to openly declare His relation with the Father. He continues to publicly affirm His mission and purpose on the earth. Jesus is the Epitome of convictions and passion! Nothing could make Him compromise His convictions. Nothing could make Him lay down His principles of life.
In this period of fear and uncertainty as we each seek to make sense of the evil occurring around us, we are forced inward (literally and figuratively). In these periods of introspection, we need to hold onto certainty. That certainty is Jesus Christ. We hold on to Him and all He stands for. We hold on to Him who transcends history. We hold on to Him who promises us eternal life. He provides the strength, the peace and the constant through the centuries.
Yes, we will be persecuted for holding on to those beliefs and living a life of faith. Sometimes in subtle way, sometimes overtly. But we know that Jesus Christ is central in our lives. We know that Jesus Christ was the very imprint of God. Yet, our God allowed his son to be persecuted for us in the most horrific way. Persecuted so that we could live eternally with him.
This is the time when we should deepen our passion for the Lord and His kingdom. This is the time that we should contemplate how we will emerge from the turmoil around us. There is one path forward from this place . . .
We commit to living our lives as if our individual lives were the only Gospel that people “encounter, hear and experience.
Prayer of The Day
“Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Saint Augustine)
We cannot be indifferent to the claims which Jesus makes on us. We are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground. We can try to mold the Lord Jesus to our own ideas and way of thinking or we can allow his word of truth to free us from our own sinful blindness, stubborn pride, and ignorance. Let each of us accept all that Jesus has taught and done for us with faith and reverence. The consequences are enormous, both in this life and in eternity.