Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

(Jeremiah 20:10-13; John 10:31-42)

The woman feels forlorn.  Having taken care of her grandson as an infant, she has a very special affection for him. But her daughter-in-law and son seem to deprive her of opportunities to see him.  Her daughter-in-law even avoids speaking to her.  Perhaps the isolation she feels is not of the magnitude of Jeremiah’s in the first reading today or of Jesus’ in the gospel, but certainly many of us know the distress it creates. In turn, these feelings from being excluded in different situations help us to understand what the Scriptures point to today.

The gospel portrays the debate between Jesus and the Jews of his time.  It also reflects the situation between Christians and Jews in late first century Palestine.  The Jews could no longer tolerate Christians claiming the Sonship of Jesus in their synagogues.  Their religion had been devastated by the Roman razing of their Temple.  As humans tend to do when in distress, these Jews reassessed who they were and what they believed.  They concluded that there was no place among them for adherents to belief in Jesus as Lord.  As they were in the majority at that place and time, the Christians had to go. Like Jesus in today's gospel, the latter withdrew to other places to find their future.

When we find ourselves misunderstood, isolated, and even, perhaps, our good names attacked, we may find a resolution to the distress in doing what Jesus does here.  We need to examine our words and works to test whether we are acting in accord with God's will.  If we find ourselves innocent of wrong-doing, then we can take consolation in assuming the posture of Jesus who suffered after doing what is right.