Gospel Reflection – Friday, March 22, 2024 – John 10:31-42 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Jer 20,10-13)

Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah.

I heard the insults of so many men and saw them spreading fear around: Denounce him, let us denounce him”. All my friends observe my failures: Maybe he makes a mistake and we can catch him and get even with him.”

But the Lord is by my side, like a strong warrior; therefore, those who persecute me will fall defeated. Because they have not been successful, they will cover themselves with shame. Eternal infamy, which never goes away! O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous man and sees the feelings of the heart, I pray you, make me see your vengeance upon them; for I have declared my cause to you. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he saved the life of a poor man from the hands of the wicked.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 10,31-42)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus. And he said to them, By the command of the Father, I have shown you many good works. Which one do you want to stone me for?”

The Jews replied: We do not want to stone you because of good works, but because of blasphemy, because, being just a man, you make yourself God!” Jesus said: Is it not written in your Law: ‘I said: You are gods’?

Now, no one can annul the Scripture: if the Law calls the people to whom the word of God was addressed gods, why then do you accuse me of blasphemy, when I say that I am the Son of God, I whom the Father consecrated and sent to the world? If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you do not want to believe me, believe in my works, so that you may know and recognize that the Father is in me and I in the Father.”

Again they tried to arrest Jesus, but he escaped from their hands. Jesus crossed over to the other side of the Jordan and went to the place where John had previously baptized. And he remained there. Many came to him and said, John did not perform any sign, but everything he said about this man is true.” And many there believed in him.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I would like to begin our homily with a question: how often do we feel misunderstood? How often do we find ourselves in situations where our words and actions are misinterpreted and our intentions are distorted? I’m sure each of us has experienced this at some point in our lives. It is a painful, sometimes disheartening experience that makes us question who we are and what our purpose is. But I want to tell you that you are not alone. Our faith teaches us that even the prophets and, above all, our Lord Jesus Christ, faced misunderstanding and rejection.

Our first reading, from the book of Jeremiah, shows us the prophet’s suffering in the face of the adversities he faced. Jeremiah was a man called by God to deliver a difficult message to the people of Israel. He was a messenger of divine truth, but this truth was often rejected and even ridiculed. Jeremiah was persecuted and defamed because of his faithfulness to God. Yet even in the midst of pain and despair, he found strength in God and proclaimed, “The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior”.

These words resonate with us today. When we are misunderstood, when we face opposition and rejection, we must remember that God is with us as a mighty warrior. He strengthens us and gives us courage to face difficulties. Instead of giving in to sadness and discouragement, we can rise up with faith and confidence, knowing that God is on our side.

And the ultimate example of this fidelity and courage is found in our Lord Jesus Christ, as shown in the Gospel of John. In this excerpt, Jesus is confronted by religious leaders who accuse him of blasphemy. They fail to understand the truth of his message and instead accuse and threaten him. But Jesus remains firm and courageously responds: “The works I do in my Father’s name bear witness to me”. He is not shaken by accusations and continues to proclaim the truth, even in the face of misunderstanding and rejection.

Dear brothers and sisters, just like Jeremiah and Jesus, we are also called to witness to the truth in our daily lives. In a world where truth is often distorted and morality is relativized, we must remain firm in our Christian principles and values. This can mean facing opposition and rejection. It can mean going against the grain and being misunderstood. But as Christians, we are called to be light in the midst of darkness, to proclaim the truth of the Gospel, regardless of the circumstances.

To help us understand this truth, I would like to share a story with you. There was a man named André who was known for his generosity. He was always willing to help others and share what he had. One day, he came across a beggar who was hungry and homeless. André, without hesitation, gave him food and a place to sleep. But instead of thanking him, the beggar mocked André and accused him of doing it just to feel good about himself.

André was saddened by the beggar’s reaction, but he didn’t let himself be shaken. He continued to help those in need even when he was misunderstood. Over time, those who knew him began to understand André’s sincere motivation and to appreciate his selfless generosity. They were inspired by his example and started helping others too. André became a beacon of hope in his community, showing that love and generosity can make a difference, even in moments of misunderstanding and rejection.

This story reminds us that our actions speak louder than our words. When we are misunderstood, we can find comfort and strength in the knowledge that God sees our hearts and knows our intentions. He invites us to persevere in doing good, even when we are misunderstood, trusting that He is working through us to accomplish His will.

Dear brothers and sisters, the central message that these biblical passages bring us today is that we must remain steadfast in faith, even when we face misunderstanding and rejection. We must trust in God, who is with us like a powerful warrior, strengthening us and giving us courage to face difficulties. Jesus is the perfect example of this courage and faithfulness, and He invites us to follow Him in all circumstances.

To apply these principles in our everyday lives, we need to reflect on some fundamental questions. How are we responding when we feel misunderstood? Are we allowing ourselves to be shaken by rejection and criticism, or are we finding strength in God? Are we persevering in doing good, even when we do not receive recognition or gratitude in return? Are we willing to be a light in the midst of darkness, even if it means facing opposition?

Now I would like to offer some practical guidance for applying these principles in our daily lives. First, we must seek spiritual strengthening daily, through prayer and reading the Word of God. It is through this communion with God that we find the strength and courage to face difficulties and remain faithful to our mission.

Second, we must seek to understand and forgive those who misunderstand us. It won’t always be easy, but forgiveness frees us from resentment and allows us to move forward with love and compassion.

Third, we must seek the wisdom and discernment to know when to speak and when to remain silent. It is not always necessary to respond to every criticism or accusation. Sometimes our example speaks louder than our words.

And finally, we must find support and fellowship with other brothers and sisters in the faith. The Christian life is not a solitary journey, and we need each other to encourage and strengthen each other.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Christian life is a journey of faithfulness and courage. As followers of Christ, we will face misunderstanding and rejection. But as Jeremiah and Jesus teach us, we are not alone. God is with us as a mighty warrior, strengthening us and empowering us to be faithful witnesses in a world that often does not understand the truth.

May we find comfort and strength in the certainty that God is with us, even in moments of misunderstanding. May we persevere in doing good, even when we are not understood. And may divine grace, love and hope be ever present in our lives, enabling us to live according to the teachings of Scripture.

So be it. Amen.