Again he said to them, ‘I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ Then the Jews said, ‘Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ He said to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’ They said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.’ They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’ As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
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.
Towards the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions discover that Oz, the Great and Powerful, is actually just a frightened showman using pyrotechnics and voice modulators to project power and majesty. When given the chance to peek behind the curtain and look at the real man, Dorothy and friends find a well-meaning but overwhelmed fraud.
The Pharisees in today’s Gospel are convinced that, if they keep trying, they’re going to see through the facade of Jesus of Nazareth and find a Galilean Oz, deluding the people and stirring up trouble in Jerusalem. Throughout John’s Gospel, they’re always trying to find ways to show Jesus is a fraud, using miracles and spectacle to turn a blasphemer into a messiah.
The Pharisees aren’t the only ones to seeking to uncover the “real” Jesus. In a sense, we all are constantly seeking to know Jesus more intimately and more profoundly. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us when we’ll know really him: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM” (Jn 8: 28). All throughout Lent, we have been getting to know Jesus more deeply. When we see Jesus on the Cross on Good Friday, when we find him resurrected on Easter Sunday, when we meet him on the road to Emmaus, when we meet him in our daily lives, when Jesus, the Son of Man is lifted up, that is when we will realize fully who Jesus is and we will rejoice again.
—Mr. Jim Kennedy is a Jesuit novice completing his long experiment at Creighton Prep.
“To ask for what I want: it will be to ask for interior knowledge of our Lord, who became man for me, that I may more love and follow him.” – The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
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