April 2, 2022
Saturday (Week IV of Lent)
by Fr. David M. Knight
View today's readings: Jeremiah 11:18-22; Psalm 7; John 7:40-53
The RESPONSORIAL PSALM tells us where to look for support and confirmation when we feel alone in our faith: “O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge” (PSALM 7).
In Jeremiah 11: 18-20 the prophet has become aware that his enemies are “hatching plots” against him. And it was a blow to him.
It is always hard to realize that people not only disagree with us but actually dislike and condemn us because of what we believe. We are members of communities that mean a lot to us: our family, circle of friends, co-workers, our church. When these people, on whom we normally rely for support, turn against us, it can shake our confidence.
It can also drive us closer to God. This is what happened to Jeremiah. It made him turn to God, recognizing God as the “just Judge,” the true “searcher of mind and heart,” whose judgment about us is the only one that counts. St. Paul did the same thing later, when he said to his adversaries, “with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself… It is the Lord who judges me” (1CORINTHIANS 3: 3-4). We need to keep this criterion in mind if we are going to be free and open disciples of Jesus, with our thinking unswayed and undistorted by public opinion.
In John 7: 40-53 controversy is still raging about Jesus. And still people are asking the wrong question, making a big issue about whether he came from Nazareth in Galilee or Bethlehem in Judea. But the argument against him that his enemies appeal to most strongly is just the fact that none of “the authorities or the Pharisees” believe in him. The Pharisees made it their business to study up on the law. They were vocal and emphatic about their opinions, and quick to condemn anyone who disagreed with them. They dismissed the opinions of the ordinary people as worthless: “This crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Uneducated members of the “crowd,” hearing that, were hesitant to condemn themselves by voicing any disagreement.
Today we are educated enough to verify whether the voice of the “authorities and Pharisees”” is truly the voice of the Church. As disciples, students of Jesus, we need to make sure that we judge truth by the words and example Jesus himself, not by just anything preached from the pulpit; much less by popular opinion or the propaganda of pressure groups.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Look to Jesus for security and the confirmation of your beliefs— prayerfully reflecting on his words, trying to read his mind and heart.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry