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)
Once again, the scribes pick up rocks to stone Jesus. Once again, Jesus confronts them with words of truth. Words of truth that fall on deaf ears.
How many of us have our ears deafened to the words of Jesus and to the very presence of Jesus in each of us.?
We do that when we ignore and refuse to speak out on the evils around us. We do that when we emerge from Lent and still don’t acknowledge the gift around us – the power to change.
When you and I look at our lives, we see many things we would like to change. We would like to believe more deeply, forgive more easily, love with fewer conditions. But when we try to move in that positive direction, we often fall short. Despite our best intentions and honest efforts, we remain stuck in our flaws. Like the house of Israel, we are helpless and hopeless. This is why it is crucial for us to believe that God can change us, that God is able to alter the terms of our relationship, that God can make us new.
We believe in God, but when it comes to changing ourselves, we try to do it ourselves. We think that our strategy and efforts can break a habit of sin or make us more generous people. But that is seldom the case. What we need is not different plans or more willpower. What we need is a new relationship. The good news is that that is exactly what God wants to give us.
We enter into that new relationship when we entrust ourselves to God, when we admit our weakness and inability to change, and ask God to transform us.
When we say Lord, “I have been so hurt by that person that I cannot bend to forgive. I need you to bend me, so that I can let go of this hate. Lord, I have put such high expectations on my spouse and my children, that they are harming my relationships. I need you to loosen my expectations, so I can love the people in my life as they are, rather than how I want them to be. Lord, I am so quick to judge others because of their race, sexual orientation, or political viewpoint, and that fills me with anger. Lord, I need you to quiet those prejudices, so that I can live in peace again.”
When we are helpless and hopeless, God promises to change us. God promises to write, in a new way, on our hearts. Now, then, is the time to open our hearts, and let God in, so that we can become the people we are called to be.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, as we draw near to the commemoration of Your own suffering and death, help me to unite my crosses to Yours. Help me to see in my daily struggle Your presence and strength. Help me to see the purpose you have for me in the midst of these challenges. Jesus, I trust in You.”
The gift of God’s love has a specific purpose. God is a personal God who desires relationship with each one of us and has proven his love to us by sending his Son to save us. Because of our brokenness we are often reluctant to receive this gift of love. We desire to remain independent and to try to solve our problems on our own. Perhaps we even think we can save ourselves by being good. But the truth is that we can only be saved by exercising living faith and receiving God’s unmerited gift. We must turn to him and allow him to be the center of our life. We must surrender to him. This is the living faith that saves.