10th March

The gospel passage of today (Jn 5:31-47) deals with Jesus’ dispute with the religious leaders of Jesus-vs-PhariseeIsrael. A representative portion is given following the Bible Alive commentary:

You can almost feel the exasperation of Jesus facing the Jewish leaders who firmly refused to accept him as the Son of God. ‘What on earth do I have to do to make you believe? Aren’t the claims about me made by John the Baptist enough? What about the miracles, signs and wonders you watch me perform daily, let alone the evidence of the Scriptures which proclaim me so clearly?’ It’s little wonder that they found it hard to believe. Jesus’ ministry shook their comfortable world to its foundations. His miracles and teaching gave them a daily dilemma of having to face up to either accepting that Jesus was who he said he was, or rejecting him as some sort of crank.

Before we criticize Jesus’ opponents for their lack of faith in him, we need to look at ourselves. How deep is our faith? It may be strong enough when things are going well, but how does it cope with setbacks and challenges? Faith should prompt us to try to understand the circumstances and situations arising in our lives in a way that always acknowledges the presence of the action of the loving hand of God. This is not so easy when our lives don’t go according to plan. It’s then, when we are prone to frustration and depression, that we need to allow our faith to help us to understand and accept what God is doing in our lives. Paul calls us to ‘{r}ejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Faith is both individual and corporate. Each of us needs the constant action of the Holy Spirit to deepen our faith through our prayer and reading Scripture. As members of the Church we belong to a rich community of faith and are recipients of the grace available through the body of Christ. Through the witness and testimony of others, we have living proof of God’s loving presence, which serves to build up our own faith.

Without frequent reference to God each day we have a tendency to seek human praise rather than God’s praise (v. 44). But with active participation in God’s plan, we are helped to live out the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. (Bible Alive)

Jesus, give me the grace to turn to you, place my life in your hands, and accept your perfect plan for me.

############## John 5:31-47 #################

[T]he works my Father has given me to carry out,
these same works of mine
testify that the Father has sent me.
Besides, the Father who sent me
bears witness to me himself.
You have never heard his voice,
you have never seen his shape,
and his word finds no home in you
because you do not believe
in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life;
now these same scriptures testify to me,
and yet you refuse to come to me for life!
As for human approval, this means nothing to me.
Besides, I know you too well:
you have no love of God in you.
I have come in the name of my Father
and you refuse to accept me;
if someone else comes in his own name
you will accept him.

How can you believe,
since you look to one another for approval
and are not concerned
with the approval that comes from the one God?