Gospel Reflection – Saturday, March 16, 2024 – John 7,40-53 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Jer 11,18-20)

Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah.

Lord, you warned me and I understood; you made me aware of their intrigues. I was like a gentle lamb led to sacrifice, and I didn’t know that they were plotting against me: “Let’s cut down the tree in all its strength, eliminate it from the world of the living, so that its name will no longer be remembered”.

And you, Lord of hosts, who judge with justice and search the affections of the heart, grant that I may see the vengeance that you will take against them, for I have entrusted my cause to you.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 7,40-53)

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

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, upon hearing Jesus’ words, some people said: “This is truly the Prophet”. Others said, “He is the Messiah.” But some objected: “Will the Messiah come from Galilee? Doesn’t the Scripture say that the Messiah will be of David’s descent and will come from Bethlehem, the town where David was from?”

Thus, there was division among the people because of Jesus. Some wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. Then the Temple guards returned to the high priests and the Pharisees, and they asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him?”

The guards responded, “No one has ever spoken like this man.” Then the Pharisees said to them, “Are you also deceived? Did any of the leaders or Pharisees believe him? But these people who don’t know the Law are cursed!”

But Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees, the one who had met Jesus before, said: “Does our Law judge anyone before it hears him and knows what he has done?” They replied, “Are you also a Galilean? Go study and you will see that no prophet emerges from Galilee.” And each one returned to his home.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

What a joy it is to be here today, gathered as a community of faith, to reflect on the precious words of Holy Scripture. Our lives often resemble a whirlwind of emotions, challenges, and responsibilities, but at this time, we are invited to find refuge and guidance in the sacred pages bequeathed to us by the holy prophets and apostles. Allow me, then, to lead you on this spiritual journey, contemplating the biblical passages of Jeremiah 11,18-20 and John 7,40-53.

Brothers and sisters, life is not always easy. Jeremiah, the prophet who speaks to us in the first reading, knew this very well. He faced opposition, rejection, and even persecution because of his faithfulness to God’s word. He was betrayed and abandoned by those he trusted. In the midst of all the difficulties, Jeremiah could have despaired, but he chose to remain firm in his faith because he knew that the Lord was with him.

How many times have we also felt betrayed and abandoned by the people around us? How often are we faced with challenging situations that make us question our purpose and our path? In these moments, it is crucial to remember that we are called to trust God and seek his will. Like Jeremiah, we can cry out: “Lord, You know everything, remember me and avenge me on my persecutors; do not allow me to be destroyed because of Your patience!” (Jeremiah 11,20).

And it is exactly this confidence that we see in the Gospel of John. The Pharisees and religious authorities question Jesus, the Son of God, and try to find reasons to reject Him. But, in the midst of this atmosphere of disbelief, some begin to recognize the truth and wonder if Jesus could, in fact, be the long-awaited Messiah. They say: “This is truly the prophet” (John 7:40).

This statement is a crucial turning point. Those who were willing to open their hearts and minds to the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah began to experience an inner transformation. They were willing to challenge prevailing traditions and opinions to embrace a new reality of hope and salvation.

Brothers and sisters, like those who recognized Jesus as the prophet, we are called to open our hearts and minds to divine truth. Sometimes we can be so immersed in our traditions and personal opinions that we lose sight of the truth that is in front of us. May these words challenge us to question and examine our own beliefs, opening ourselves to God’s action in our lives.

But how can we do this? How can we find this openness to divine truth? Allow me to share a story with you. A young man once came to a spiritual master and asked, “Master, how can I open my heart to divine truth?” The master smiled and said, “My son, imagine your heart as a jug full of dirty water. To fill it with clean water, you must first empty it of the dirty water. Likewise, to open your heart to the truth divine, you must first free yourself from worldly illusions and attachments.”

This story reminds us that opening to divine truth requires a process of inner purification. We must be willing to let go of our own preconceived ideas, our attachments, and our selfish desires. Only then will we be able to receive the fullness of divine revelation in our lives.

Brothers and sisters, the central message of these biblical passages is clear: we must trust God even in the midst of difficulties and be willing to open our hearts to divine truth. But how can we apply these principles to our everyday lives?

First, we must seek an intimate relationship with God through prayer and meditation on the Word. Just like Jeremiah and Jesus’ disciples, we need to trust in the Lord’s constant presence in our lives, even when we face tribulations. Prayer strengthens us and brings us peace in the midst of adversity.

Furthermore, we must be willing to question our own beliefs and traditions. This does not mean abandoning our faith, but rather having the courage to examine our hearts and allow divine truth to transform us. Sometimes it is necessary to set aside our own prejudices and be open to new perspectives, knowing that God is beyond our human limitations.

It is also important to remember that openness to divine truth requires humility. We need to recognize that we do not have all the answers and that God’s complete understanding is beyond our limited ability. Humility allows us to learn from others, especially those who have a deeper understanding of faith and tradition.

Furthermore, we must seek inner purification. Just like the jar in history that needed to be emptied of dirty water, we must free ourselves from the illusions and worldly attachments that prevent us from fully receiving divine truth. This may require renunciation and sacrifice, but the reward is a life more aligned with God’s will and a deeper intimacy with Him.

Finally, we cannot forget that openness to divine truth calls us to action. We must live according to the teachings of Christ, putting love, justice and compassion into practice in our daily interactions. We must be living witnesses of the Gospel, showing the world the transformation that divine truth can bring.

Dear brothers and sisters, this Lent, we are invited to reflect on these biblical passages and apply them to our lives. May we have the courage to trust God even in the midst of difficulties, to question our own beliefs and to open ourselves to divine truth. May we seek inner purification and live according to the teachings of Christ. May divine grace, love, and hope guide us on our spiritual journey, enabling us to be true disciples of Christ in all areas of our lives.

May the Lord bless us and grant us the wisdom and strength to live according to his will. May our lives be a living testimony of divine love and truth. So be it. Amen.