4TH WEEK OF LENT
The one who sent me, whom you do not know . . .
The authorities were trying to kill Jesus. That’s why he was reluctant to travel to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles (John 7:1, 2). They didn’t understand who he was. They could only see the ways he challenged them and their assumptions. So it seemed better to them if Jesus just disappeared.
How could this be? How could they miss out on who Jesus was?
We can get a hint from today’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom. It’s almost uncanny the way it seems to describe the thoughts of these leaders. The “wicked,” it says, hate the righteous one because he is “obnoxious” to them (Wisdom 2:1, 2). So they want to get rid of him. But as the reading points out, this seemed like a good idea to them because they were “blinded”; they didn’t know the “hidden counsels of God” (2:21, 22).
These leaders of Israel just couldn’t see how God could possibly be present in the man before them. For instance, when Jesus spoke of God’s mercy, they bristled because they thought he was offering it too freely. Where was his adherence to all their treasured traditions that had been set up to guard against disobedience and sacrilege? And so, blinded by their presumptions, they resisted the mercy of God in Christ—for themselves as well as for everyone else.
Sometimes we make the same mistake. We don’t realize that God stands ready to welcome us instead of angrily waiting for our next misstep. That’s why we sometimes avoid the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But that’s where we come face-to-face with the God who saves and redeems us. We see that he doesn’t keep a list of our sins but freely offers us forgiveness and peace. We encounter the surprising, life-changing compassion of God. We experience a mercy so filled with love that it doesn’t just forgive our sins; it changes our hearts.
So go ahead and look for a chance to go to Confession before Lent is over. Approach your Father and let him show you his heart of mercy and love.
“Lord, I want to know your mercy and love!”
Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalm 34:17-21, 23
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30