John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly, and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So, Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So, they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
Jesus says that the Jews do not know the one who sent him, for God himself had sent him; he is from God. We know this to mean that Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father, but to Jesus’ contemporaries, to those whose hearts were hardened this was blasphemy. Still, they could not arrest Jesus because his hour had not yet come. One could also say their hour had not yet come, so they want to plot for the proper time, pretext, and circumstances to get this dangerous person out of the way.
Christ spoke the truth, in love, and without apology. It was his uncompromising devotion to the truth and love of the Father that brought him into conflict with those in authority. When we are baptized, when we live Christian lives in word and deed, when we participate in the sacramental life of the Church, we are made innocent. We live today in a world in which we may face hostility. Through prayer, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (at least, as often as we can under the circumstances) we receive the strength, courage and fortitude to be examples of Christian life. We have the grace to speak the truth without apology and to believe in Jesus Christ and the one who sent him. We have the opportunity to remove any blindness from ourselves, casting off any wickedness.
We can take comfort in knowing that the Lord sees our efforts. With contrite hearts and repentance when we fail, through God’s mercy, we will receive our reward in heaven. As we continue through these last few weeks of Lent, let us pray for perseverance in our Lenten disciplines and our lives. Pray that the Lord might make us shining examples of what it means to be Christians. This week let’s ask the Lord to show us how we can be more Christ-like. May he give us also the courage to live and to speak the truth even as the world condemns and persecutes us. By God’s grace, our examples may lead others to the Church. After all, a joyful and authentic Catholic is the best evangelist.