March 14, 2013
John 5: 31-47
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.“ You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
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)
God’s persistence to share his life, his love is like water that flows over, under, around, and through us. The Living Water ultimately wins, no matter what blocks we put up.
Consider today’s reading from Exodus. Moses was leading with God’s help a chosen people to a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses thought he was doing a pretty good job, only to come down off the mountain and learn from the Lord that his people didn’t want to move. The people had put a block up in their relationship with God. Whatever it was, the block was as real as a molten calf or as solid as a defiant attitude. This block was getting in the way of the flow of these people to a promised land where they were to become fulfilled as a chosen people, a royal people, a people set apart. It seems the trip was becoming too awesome, too difficult, and too much of a bother. They preferred to create their own road to their god while complaining and whining about the God who brought them thus far. There seemed to be an attitude of “show me the milk and honey now. If we don’t get what we want, we’ll stop and find another and create our own and milk and honey.”
I’m not much different from these “stiff-necked” people. I want to be in control. I want to approve of where I’m going in life. I want to choose what I want, when I want, how I want. It is an inward movement to stop and try to block God’s will, which, when I stop and listen to my heart of hearts, I know will win out. His relationship with me, with us is greater than mine and ours with Him.
There are very few, if any, blockless relationships with one another and with God. There are blocks and barriers that we choose to create and even continue as they are handed down from generation to generation. Our prejudices become blocks. Our stubbornness to give and forgive become blocks. Our blocks can be as numerous as the stars.
We need to remember that we are not God, we are not the Living Water. We are merely cracked pipes through which the Living Water flows, and God loves us despite our flaws. He gushes through us. If we try to block Him for ourselves, for others, God will wash over and through. Sooner or later, God wins out and the blocks we cling to give way.
How do I need to let go today and believe that God is in love with his people? That God is in love with me, for real as I am?
No block I put up will stand in the way for sooner or later, I will realize He is and will be over me, under me, around me, and through me. Let’s give up, let go and surrender. Let go. Let God be with you.
—Fr. Walter Deye, S.J., Socius/Executive Assistant to the Provincial, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Teach me to listen, O God, to those nearest me, my family, my friends, my co-workers. Help me to be aware that no matter what words I hear, the message is, “Accept the person I am. Listen to me.” Teach me to listen, my caring God, to those far from me– the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten, the cry of the anguished. Teach me to listen, O God, my Mother, to myself. Help me to be less afraid to trust the voice inside — in the deepest part of me. Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice — in busyness and in boredom, in certainty and doubt, in noise and in silence. Teach me, Lord, to listen. Amen.
John Veltri, S.J.
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