Wednesday, March 29, 2017
1) Opening prayer
Our God and Father,
you keep seeking us out
with love as passionate as a mother's love,
even when we have abandoned you.Give us hope and courage,
especially when we feel uncertain.
Reassure us that you want us to live
in the security of your love
and that you stay with us
through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 5, 17-30
Jesus answer to the Jews was, 'My Father still goes on working, and I am at work, too.' But that only made the Jews even more intent on killing him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he spoke of God as his own Father and so made himself God's equal.
To this Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, by himself the Son can do nothing; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he himself does, and he will show him even greater things than these, works that will astonish you.
Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses; for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father. Whoever refuses honour to the Son refuses honour to the Father who sent him.
In all truth I tell you, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to judgement such a person has passed from death to life.
In all truth I tell you, the hour is coming -- indeed it is already here -- when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and, because he is the Son of man, has granted him power to give judgement.
Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice: those who did good will come forth to life; and those who did evil will come forth to judgement. By myself I can do nothing; I can judge only as I am told to judge, and my judging is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
• The Gospel of John is different from the other three. It reveals a more profound dimension which only faith is able to perceive in the words and gestures of Jesus. The Fathers of the Church would say that the Gospel of John is “spiritual”, it reveals what the Spirit makes one discover in the words of Jesus (cf. Jn 16, 12-13). A beautiful example of this spiritual dimension of the Gospel of John is the passage which we are going to meditate on today.
• John 5, 17-18: Jesus explains the profound meaning of the healing of the paralytic. Criticized by the Jews for having cured on Saturday, Jesus answers: “My Father still goes on working, and I am at work too!” The Jews taught that no work could be done on Saturday, because even God had rested and had not worked on the seventh day of creation (Ex 20, 8-11). Jesus affirms the contrary. He says that the Father has always worked even until now. And for this reason, Jesus also works, and even on Saturday. He imitates his Father! For Jesus the work of creation is not finished as yet. God continues to work, unceasingly, day and night, holding up the Universe and all of us. Jesus collaborates with the Father continuing the work of creation in such a way that one day all may be able to enter into the eternal rest that has been promised. The reaction of the Jews was violent. They wanted to kill him for two reasons: because he denied the sense of Saturday and for saying he was equal to God.
• John 5, 19-21: It is love which allows the creative action of God to shine and be visible. These verses reveal something of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Jesus, the Son, lives permanently attentive before the Father. What he sees the Father do, he does it also. Jesus is the reflection of the Father. He is the face of the Father! This total attention of the Son to the Father makes it possible for the love of the Father to enter totally into the Son and through the Son, carry out his action in the world. The great concern of the Father is that of overcoming death and to give life. It is a way of continuing the creative work of the Father.
• John 5, 22-23: The Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgment to the Son. What is decisive in life is the way in which we place ourselves before the Creator, because it radically depends on him. Now the Creator becomes present for us in Jesus. The plenitude of the divinity dwells in Jesus (cf. Col 1, 19). And therefore, according to the way in which we are before Jesus, we express our position before God, the Creator. What the Father wants is that we know him and honour him in the revelation which he makes of himself in Jesus.
• John 5, 24: The life of God in us through Jesus. God is life, he is creating force. Wherever he is present, there is life. He becomes present in the Word of Jesus. The one who listens to the word of Jesus as a word that comes from God has already risen. He has already received the vivifying touch which leads him beyond death. Jesus passed from death to life. The proof of this is in the healing of the paralytic.
• John 5, 25-29: The resurrection is already taking place. All of us are the dead who still have not opened ourselves to the voice of Jesus which comes from the Father. But “the hour will come” and it is now, in which the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who will listen, will live”. With the Word of Jesus which comes from the Father, the new creation begins; it is already on the way. The creative word of Jesus will reach all, even those who have already died. They will hear and will live.
• John 5, 30: Jesus is the reflection of the Father. “By myself I can do nothing; I can judge only as I am told to judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me”. This last phrase is the summary of all that has been said before. This was the idea that the community of the time of John had and diffused regarding Jesus.
4) Personal questions
• How do you imagine the relationship between Jesus and the Father?
• How do you live faith in the resurrection?
5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh is tenderness and pity,
slow to anger, full of faithful love.
Yahweh is generous to all,
his tenderness embraces all his creatures. (Ps 145,8-9)