Saturday, March 16, 2013
1) Opening prayer
when people encountered your Son,
he became a source of division:
he affected their lives
one way or another.May we accept him fully
and empty ourselves to make room for him
in our everyday life, even when it hurts.
Help us, that with him
we may always seek and do your will.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 7, 40-53
Some of the crowd who had been listening Jesus said, 'He is indeed the prophet,' and some said, 'He is the Christ,' but others said, 'Would the Christ come from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from Bethlehem, the village where David was?' So the people could not agree about him.
Some wanted to arrest him, but no one actually laid a hand on him. The guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, 'Why haven't you brought him?' The guards replied, 'No one has ever spoken like this man.' 'So,' the Pharisees answered, 'you, too, have been led astray? Have any of the authorities come to believe in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law -- they are damned.'
One of them, Nicodemus -- the same man who had come to Jesus earlier -- said to them, 'But surely our Law does not allow us to pass judgement on anyone without first giving him a hearing and discovering what he is doing?' To this they answered, 'Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not arise in Galilee.' They all went home.
• In chapter 7, John confirms that there were diverse opinions and much confusion among the people regarding Jesus. The relatives thought something (Jn 7, 2-5), people thought something different (Jn 7, 12). Some said: “He is a prophet!” (Jn 7, 40). Others said: “He leads the people astray!” (Jn 7, 12). Some praised him: “He is a good man!” (Jn 7, 12). Others criticized him: “He has not been educated, has not studied!” (Jn 7, 15). Many opinions. Each one had his own arguments, taken from the Bible or from Tradition. But nobody remembered the Messiah Servant, announced by Isaiah (Is 42, 1-9; 49, 1-6; 50, 4-9; 52, 13-53, 12; 61, 1-2). Today, also, there is much discussion on religion, and all take their arguments from the Bible. As in the past, the same thing today, it happens many times that little ones are deceived by the discourses of the great ones and, some times, even by the discourses of those who belong to the Church.
• John 7, 40-44: The confusion among the people. The reaction of the people is very diverse. Some say: he is the prophet. Others: he is the Messiah; the Christ. Others claim: He cannot be because the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and he comes from Galilee! These diverse ideas on the Messiah produce division and confrontation. There were some who wanted to take him, to arrest him, but they did not do it. Perhaps because they were afraid of the people (cf. Mt 14, 2).
• John 7, 45-49: The arguments of the authority. Previously, before the reaction of the people who were in favour of Jesus, the Pharisees had sent some guards to arrest him (Jn 7, 32). But the guards returned without Jesus. They had been greatly impressed in hearing people speak so well: “No one has ever spoken like this man!” The Pharisees reacted: “Have you also been led astray?” According to the Pharisees who said: “This rabble knows nothing about the Law” and allows itself to be deceived by Jesus. It is as if they said: “No, we the chief priests know things better and we do not allow ourselves to be led astray!” and they say that the people are “damned”! The religious authority of that time treated people with great contempt.
• John 7, 50-52: The defence of Jesus by Nicodemus. Before this stupid argument, the honesty of Nicodemus revolts and he raises his voice to defend Jesus: “But surely our Law does not allow us to pass judgment on anyone without first giving him a hearing and discovering what he is doing?” The reaction of the others is that Nicodemus is mocking them: “Nicodemus are you also from Galilee? Look at the Bible and you will see for yourself that prophets do not arise in Galilee!” They are sure! Holding the book of the past, they defend themselves against the future which arrives and disturbs them. Today, many people continue to do the same thing. They only accept the novelty if it agrees with their own ideas which belong to the past.
4) Personal questions
• Today, which are the diverse opinions that people have about Jesus? And in your community, are there different opinions which cause confusion? Which? Say them, describe them.
• There are persons who accept only the novelty which agrees with their own ideas and which belongs to the past. And you?
5) Concluding Prayer
Have mercy on me, O God,
in your faithful love,
in your great tenderness wipe away my offences;
wash me clean from my guilt,
purify me from my sin. (Ps 51,1-2)