This is a reflection on today’s gospel. The gospel passage follows after the reflection.
Gospel Reflection Thursday, Fourth Week of Lent
In the gospel reading Jesus says to those who are hostile to him, ‘you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that come from the one God’. We all look for human approval in one way or another. If we receive a lot of approval, we tend to feel good about ourselves; we feel that we must be doing something right. When it comes to leaders of political parties, approval ratings are taken very seriously. Yet in the gospel reading Jesus warns against working for human approval while neglecting the more important approval, the approval that comes from God. The opposite of human approval is human rejection. Jesus experienced the ultimate in human rejection by being crucified. Yet, at the very moment when he had lost all human approval he had the approval of God. God was faithful to him and raised him from the dead. What we call the paschal mystery, the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, shows that the absence of human approval does not necessarily mean the absence of God’s approval. Jesus suggests that it is God’s approval rather than human approval we need to strive for. We will know God’s approval if we receive his Son whom he sent into the world, if, like John the Baptist in today’s gospel reading, we bear witness to God’s Son by our lives.
The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie
Gospel John 5:31-47
You place your hopes on Moses, and Moses will be your accuser.
‘Were I to testify on my own behalf,
my testimony would not be valid;
but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,
and I know that his testimony is valid.
You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth:
not that I depend on human testimony;
no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.
‘John was a lamp alight and shining
and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John’s:
the 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?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:
you place your hopes on Moses,
and Moses will be your accuser.
If you really believed him
you would believe me too,
since it was I that he was writing about;
but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,
how can you believe what I say?’
The Gospel of the Lord.