Friday of the Fourth Week in Lent
(Wisdom 2:1a.12-22; John 7:1-2.10.25-30)
Within a few hours after Pope Francis I was elected the other day, Wikipedia posted an article with the major facts of his life, including controversies. The world hungers for information about the man in order to discern what kind of religious leader he will be. But how can some facts reveal the dynamics of a mature person? The situation is similar to what Jesus faces in today’s gospel.
The Jews question themselves on whether Jesus may be God’s Messiah. They have heard of his mighty deeds. But they have also received news that he is from Galilee, indeed from the insignificant town of Nazareth. In their minds this latter fact excludes him from being considered as the Messiah. For them it is as if he were not born within the United States yet was being considered a candidate for President. But Jesus’ origin supersedes his earthly birth. As the introduction to the Gospel of John specifies, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God and the Word (Jesus) was God.”
The point is at heart of our faith. If Jesus were but an earthly messiah -- a righteous teacher, a martyr for justice – we might sift through his wisdom and actions for virtue to imitate. But if he is from God, indeed if he is God, then he deserves our complete, implicit allegiance.