Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent
(Jeremiah 20:10-13; John 10:31-42)
A television drama many years ago featured two angels – a good one and a bad one. In the drama they were known as Mr. White and Mr. Black. The people of the place where the two angels came could not distinguish who was the good angel. So they concocted a test to tell which of the angels was the good one by having them sit down and stare at each other. The angel who first turned away his face would be considered the inferior, and thus bad, angel. The staring match went on for hours with neither angels flinching. Then a small child slipped away from her mother and was going to enter into the electric gaze of the two angels. Mr. Black suddenly got up to save the child from destruction. Mr. White was declared to be the good angel until someone objected. “Wasn’t really Mr. Black the good angel,” the person reasoned, “for saving the child from electrocution?” Of course, he was, and Mr. Black became the hero whom the people followed.
In today’s gospel Jesus similarly asks to be judged not by the people’s prejudices but by his works. Has he not healed the sick and judged justly? Isn’t he worthy of being called “the Son of God”? Of course, he is.
And so are we worthy when we regularly assist the needy and help the poor. We cannot consider ourselves sons or daughters as Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We are born into a sinful condition and sometimes falter in our good efforts. Nevertheless, through the sacraments especially of Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance we are only made like Jesus.