Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Wisdom 2:1a.12-22; John 7:1-2.10.25-30)
Even today in a few Catholic churches statues and images are covered during Lent. The practice is connected with today’s gospel which used to be read every year on the Sunday before Palm Sunday. Because the passage says that the Jerusalemites could not arrest Jesus, it is assumed that he is nowhere to be seen. Thus, he and the saints who reflect his glory are covered as to be likewise not seen.
The gospel passage, perhaps more importantly, relates the ignorance of the people of whom Jesus is. They see him as a false prophet, one who claims to speak on God’s behalf but does not. He is, of course, a true prophet and more – God’s own Son. At the crucifixion in Luke’s gospel Jesus pleads to his Father on behalf of his executioners that they do not know what they are doing. The Gospel of John conveys the same realization here albeit without the prayer for forgiveness.
However much the people’s ignorance of Jesus is in the gospel, we should not be found guilty of the same fault. Excellent understandings like Pope Benedict’s three-volume study Jesus of Nazareth are available. The more we know of him, the closer we will want to follow him. And the more we do that, the happier will be our reception into eternal life.