March 15, 2002 – Friday of the 4th Week of Lent
Monastery of Makkiyad, Kerala, India
Jesus neither refuses death nor desires it. He knows that according to His Father's will, there is a time for everything. There will be a time for him to be arrested, judged, maltreated and finally put to death. That time had not come yet, and therefore nobody can lay his hand on him, even when he dares to go to the Temple on the Feast of the Tents and preach.
By this time he knows that he is going to die; but he also knows that it is in Jerusalem that the Messiah must be put to death. Therefore he does not travel to Jerusalem for the great Feast with his brothers, most probably because the Jews who want to kill him have prepared ambushes along the road. He should not be killed away from Jerusalem. He goes to Jerusalem, but he arrives there in secret and it is when he is in the Temple area that he begins to teach.
His teaching is different than what it uses to be. Normally he speaks mostly of his Father, and very rarely about Himself. Here, knowing that he is going to die, he clearly professes that he is the Messiah, the beloved of the Father, sent by Him. Never has he made his mission so clear. He has been sent. He knows the Father who has sent him. And the dimension of "knowing" becomes more important than ever. Those who know him, that is, those who accept who he really is, know the Father. Those who don't accept him and his mission, and who therefore don't know him, don't know the Father either.
Just as in the reading we had from the Book of Wisdom, those who don't know him are blind, "for their wickedness blinded them". "They know not the hidden counsels of God." -- Let us ask for the grace to know the hidden counsels of God, so that we may really know Jesus and, by knowing Him, know the Father who has sent him to bring us Redemption.
FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
READING I Wis 2, 1. 12-22
The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright:
"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the Lord.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like other men's,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him."
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
And they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls' reward.
GOSPEL Jn 7, 1-2. 10. 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee. He had decided not to travel in Judea because some of the Jews were looking for a chance to kill him. The Jewish feast of Booths drew near. Once his brothers had gone up to the festival he too went up, but as if in secret and not for all to see.
Some of the people of Jerusalem remarked, "Is this not the one they want to kill? Here he is speaking in public and they don't say a word to him! Perhaps even the authorities have decided that this is the Messiah. Still, we know where this man is from. When the Messiah comes, no one is supposed to know his origins."
At this, Jesus, who was teaching in the temple area, cried out:
"So you know me,
and you know my origins?
The truth is, I have not come of myself.
I was sent by One who has the right to send,
and him you do not know.
I know him
because it is from him I come:
he sent me."
At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a finger on him because his hour had not yet come.