The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ —and the scripture cannot be annulled—can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
“The Father and I are one!” For us Christians that statement is a foundation stone of our Trinitarian belief. For the Jewish leaders Jesus was talking to, it was the last straw: they got ready to stone this “blasphemer” named Jesus because, they cried, “You, a man, are making yourself God!”
So we come to another threshold in Jesus’ journey to Calvary. Ask him to help you grasp in some small way how his heart must have ached as he tried once again to reason with these people he had come to save, despite themselves. Today’s Responsorial Psalm, so familiar to Jesus, puts it graphically: “the breakers of death surge around me, the destroying floods overwhelm me!”
Try to imagine the near despair that will culminate next week in Jesus’ plea in the garden of Gethsemane: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me!” The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that Jesus “has been tested in every respect as we are, yet without sin,” and goes on to urge us to “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in times of need.”
Ask yourself what your needs for mercy and grace are right now. What causes you anguish—for yourself, for someone dear to you, for our poor, conflicted world? In the coming days of Holy Week, be with Jesus in prayer, putting those needs before God boldly, confident that He—that They—will send their Spirit to meet those needs in ways beyond your imagining.
—Fr. John J. O’Callaghan, S.J., Vice-President for Mission & Ministry, Loyola University Medical Center
Lord, you understand our every emotion. You have suffered the anguish of abandonment, the disillusionment of failed promises, and the fear of impending torment. Because of this, we come to you imploring relief from that which causes us anguish, that which brings suffering to those dear to us and to those in near and far away places. With confidence we pray, trusting that your Spirit will meet our needs beyond our imagining.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!