Daily reflection – 3/31/2023
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)
In just one week, we will look at the cross and meditate upon the death of Jesus Christ. What it meant in His time, what it means today and what it will mean for the generations that follow us.
It’s a somber time for all of us. For me, it has always been a painful time. The enormity of pain the human Jesus suffered for us is beyond anything I can imagine. The ridicule and the rejection seared his mind. We know that Jesus was fully human and fully God. We know from the Gospels that Jesus did experience the full range of emotions: joy, sorrow, sadness, fear, pain, etc.
Today’s Gospel points to that day and reminds us of the rocks we hold in our hands. How do we do this? When we cease to acknowledge the dignity of human life, when we encounter an immigrant and falsely presume he or she is a threat, when we do nothing to address the widening gap between the richest and the poorest in our world, when we tolerate exploitation and human trafficking, when we see the rise of dictators around the world and stand silent, and all the other personal and social sins that lead to dehumanization.
In short, we have the opportunity to gaze upon the eyes of Christ on a daily basis, but do we discover Christ in those eyes, or do we look away, turn inward, and lock ourselves in the prisons of our own desires? Worse yet, do we pick up a rock when we put the values and teachings of today’s society over the words of God? If the values of the world outweigh the teachings of Christ then that person is holding one of the rocks to stone Him.
Jesus knew that he was not alone. His Father sent him, and his Father is with him. Jesus places complete trust in his Father. Ultimately, Jesus also believes that good will come from his suffering.
And this above all is the time we need to internalize that.
We need to remain deeply convicted about all that God has said and revealed to us. This deepens our ability to trust God in all things. We need to hold on to the fact that it was our Father’s love that sent His son to us. It is our Father’s will that we live eternally with Him. It is our Father’s strength that will get us through difficult times. Pray that we put the rocks down and recommit to the love of God for all.
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.
One key to holiness is that in the midst of persecution, suffering, hardship and sorrow, we stand firm in the truth. It’s always tempting to think that we must be doing something wrong when things do not go our way. It’s easy to be confused by the lies and calumny that the world throws at us when we try to stand for goodness and the truth. One thing God wants of us, in the midst of our own crosses, is to purify our faith and resolve to stand firm in His Word and Truth.