Wednesday, April 9, 2-14

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

(Daniel 3:14-20.91-92.95; John 8:31-42)

As if they were victims of a viral pandemic, the minds of many young men are being permanently infected by pornography. The vice creates desires impossible to fulfill so that finding happiness in marriage will likely also prove elusive. Ironically, in the name of sexual freedom consumers of pornography are being enslaved by the gross images. The same irony underlies today's gospel passage.

Jesus confronts the Jews with the truth that he is from God. This fact should be evident from the great signs that he has performed. But his opponents refuse to be swayed. Instead, they dismiss him as an upstart for which Jesus accuses them of being enslaved to sin. He alone can free them from sin because he brings the truth to the world. That is, he teaches them by deed as well as word the priority of sacrificial love for others.

The dialogue of this gospel may sound stilted to us. Jesus appears almost self-righteous, and the Jews in clinging to the traditions of their fathers do not seem as malicious as they are made out to be. We should remember that the Gospel of John was written in midst of a fierce persecution of Christians by Jews who were reforming themselves after the devastating defeat of the rebellion against Roman rule.   Jesus becomes the Christian spokesperson vindicating belief in his divine Sonship.  His teaching on communal love is verified by the lives of the saints through the centuries as well as his own crucifixion. To really be free we must love as he loved.