THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT 2020
Gospel: Jn 5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are all still in this Lenten desert, dictated by the coronavirus, which accompanies us, by way of providence, to the TRUTH, who ultimately is JESUS CHRIST. We discover that, like the Jews to whom Jesus spoke in today’s Gospel readings, we all seek glory from one another, in our families, in offices, in groups of friends, even in the parish.
To put it simply, we love the esteem of man more than we love the esteem of God. We look for “witnesses” in order to win their favor. This can be any person who affirms that we exist, who affirms that we are important, or who affirms that we have worth. But even when we obtain these witnesses, these are false testimonies. They are purely carnal, nothing but glitter which gives glory to those who receive them. Without the love of God within us, the love that is the only thing that gives value to life, the love that we are called to testify through the uniqueness of each one of us, everything else is just VANITY.
Vanity is like a stain of death. It is the narcissistic reliance on oneself that prevents faith. The Lord asks us today, “And how can you believe, you who take glory from one another, and do not seek the glory that comes from God alone?” Those who seek the glory, the weight, the value, and the affirmation of their existence (according to the etymologies of the Greek word “δόξα, doxa,” which means “popular opinion as opposed to knowledge,” and the Hebrew word “כָּבוֹד, kavod,” which means “heaviness”), CANNOT believe.
The curse described by the prophet Jeremiah weighs on us: “Cursed the man who trusts in man, and places his support in the flesh, removing his heart from the Lord. It will be like a tamarisk in the steppe; he will not see the good come, he will dwell in arid places in the desert, in a land of salt, where nobody can live” (Jr 17:5 ff).
In order not to give in to the enticements of pride, it may not be enough to just to “search the Scriptures.” Of course, in them we can discover eternal life. However, we must let ourselves be judged by them and humble ourselves in front of them. This is necessary in order to discover in them the “testimony” of Christ which enlightens us about our history. This necessity calls us to “go to him and have life.” Now more than ever, a narrow, dark path opens before each one of us, which appears to be an insurmountable journey.
In order for us to be saved, the Lord calls us to conversion. And what is conversion, my dear brothers and sisters? Conversion is to listen and to obey to the word of the prophets, who reveal to us his presence and his love in every event. Up to this moment, we too, in order to justify our unbelief and our reasoning, have been able to appeal to the Word of God. Yet perhaps, by virtue of his “uselessness” in dealing with an event we cannot accept, such as the current pandemic, we may realize that something has not worked in our relationship with God. If “we don’t want to go to him” and fully give him our life, this shows us that we are yet still orphans. If we do not live in intimacy with Christ, every event means that we have not “really believed in the one whom Jesus sent” to OUR lives.
Who is the prophet that God has sent to your life today?
Well, brothers and sisters, in this time of precariousness, let us listen to our CONSCIENCE. What does your conscience tell you to do today? Listen to what it says, then DO IT!
Perhaps the Lord, through your conscience, tells you to reconcile with that person, so RECONCILE! To share with the poor, so GIVE! Again, what does your conscience tell you? You name it, then DO IT!
This bath of TRUTH and HUMILITY, through which we are led to Jesus, does not come to “take glory from men,” because he seeks only to forgive the sins of men, to love men, and to kick men’s fears away and completely dissolve them in faith. Jesus comes to give us, indelibly, the “testimony about him” and his VICTORY OVER DEATH. WE WILL NOT DIE FOREVER! Listening to his voice is the only way to live. To live is to enter the narrow path accompanied by Christ, the Word, the Son of the Father made flesh. I promise you my dear brothers and sisters, this year we will experience Easter as never before in our life.
God bless you,