Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
(Jeremiah 20:10-13; John 10:31-42)
Robert Frost observed the nature of animals as well as human nature. He deeply mistrusted identifying the former with the latter. In his poem “The White-tailed Hornet” he writes:
…“As long on earth
As our comparisons were stoutly upward
With gods and angels, we were men at least,
But little lower than the gods and angels.”
But once comparisons were yielded downward,
Once we began to see our images
Reflected in the mud and even dust,
'Twas disillusion upon disillusion.
We were lost piecemeal to the animals,
Like people thrown out to delay the wolves…”
Frost’s words here approximate what Jesus says in today’s gospel.
Jesus is defending his claim to be God’s Son by reminding his detractors of Scripture. He quotes the psalms to show that humans may rise to a divine level. His divinity, however, comes by reason of eternal generation. Ours, in fact, comes by rebirth in his image. In spite of his efforts, the people continue to harass Jesus for the claim.
Many dismiss Jesus today for the same reason. They may see him as enlightened as when he speaks of neighborly love. But they have no use for a supernatural being who gives determinative mandates to order society. We should take note of this trend to reduce Jesus to a few non-threatening remarks on love. More importantly, we should try to present coherently the fullness of his teaching.