Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 31, 2017 / By: Sister Katarina Schuth

Do we realize that he is the Christ?

Wis 2:1A, 12-22/Jn 7:1-2, 25-30

Today’s readings are dark, reflecting a failure to understand, unwillingness to understand, and misunderstanding.  In the Wisdom passage, negative judgments abound against the just one:  he censures our thoughts, he judges us as debased, and he is different from us; he styles himself as superior and boasts that God is his Father.  The wicked, unable to see his holiness, decide they must test this so-called just one to see if his words are true.  If he can prove his gentleness and patience, God will take care of him and, if not, he should be condemned to a shameful death. 

Fast forward to John’s Gospel account of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles.  The inhabitants recognize that he is the one the religious leaders are trying to kill because he violated the Sabbath, because he threatens their authority.   Even so Jesus speaks openly in the temple and tells them where he is from and declares that he was sent by the Father.  He tells them all to stop judging by appearances and to judge justly.  Though the listeners could have realized that he was the Christ and arrested him, they did not since his hour had not yet come.  But soon his hour would come and he would die for us.

Imagine ourselves among those who fail to understand and who make unjust judgments.  Too often it is easier to see those who are different from us as inferior or untrustworthy, to judge actions and words as wrong and threatening rather than simply as creative or refreshing.   As I reflect on these Lenten readings, I ask myself if I realize who my colleagues and neighbors really are.  Do I judge them as inferior or unworthy of my time?  I pray that I may see their goodness, their holiness, their reflection of God’s life in each of them.  The hour for our conversion has come.

Sister Katarina Schuth, OSF
Professor/Endowed Chair for Social Scientific Study of Religion