Reading 1, Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
1 And this is the false argument they use, ‘Our life is short and dreary, there is no remedy when our end comes, no one is known to have come back from Hades.
12 Let us lay traps for the upright man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our sins against the Law, and accuses us of sins against our upbringing.
13 He claims to have knowledgeof God, and calls himself a child of the Lord.
14 We see him as a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;
15 for his kind of life is not like other people’s, and his ways are quite different.
16 In his opinion we are counterfeit; he avoids our ways as he would filth; he proclaims the final end of the upright as blessed and boasts of having God for his father.
17 Let us see if what he says is true, and test him to see what sort of end he will have.
18 For if the upright man is God’s son, God will help him and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
19 Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his patience to the test.
20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death since God willrescue him — or so he claims.’
21 This is the way they reason, but they are misled, since their malice makes them blind.
22 They do not know the hidden things of God, they do not hopefor the reward of holiness, they do not believe in a reward for blameless souls.
Gospel, John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
1 After this Jesus travelled round Galilee; he could not travel round Judaea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.
2 As the Jewish feast of Shelters drew near,
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, not publicly but secretly.
25 Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill?
26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have recognised that he is the Christ?
27 Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christappears no one will know where he comes from.’
28 Then, as Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he cried out: You know me and you know where I came from. Yet I have not come of my own accord: but he who sent me is true; You do not know him,
29 but I know him because I have my being from him and it was he who sent me.
30 They wanted to arrest him then, but because his hour had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord through the Scriptures reminding us all about the opposition that those who are faithful to God has to experience through life, and we are going to focus more and more on this theme as we approach the beginning of the Holy Week of the Passion, suffering and death of Our Lord, which will be in just about more than a week’s time.
In the first reading today, we heard the passage from the Book of Wisdom relating to us how there were a lot of opposition against the faithful and against all the servants of God. The Book of Wisdom is a book that focuses on much of the internal thoughts and deliberations of the people, and in today’s segment, we focus on the thoughts that went in the minds of those who persecuted the prophets and the messengers of the Lord.
And we see the kinds of wickedness and stubbornness present in the minds of those people who refused to believe in the prophets and in the messages of truth they brought with them. They plotted against the faithful ones of God simply because they refused to let go of the pride, ego and the greed within their hearts and minds. They took it personally that those prophets and messengers had criticised them and the way they lived their lives.
This is parallel to what the Lord Jesus mentioned and spoke before the people in our Gospel passage today. At that time, as the time was coming close to the moment when Jesus was about to be betrayed and handed over to His enemies, the oppositions against Him among the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees and all others who saw Him as their rival and as a dangerous influence were increasing rapidly.
And this is where unfortunately, the pride of men came in between them and the ability to welcome the truth of God. They were doubting the truth that the prophets and eventually, Christ Himself revealed because they thought of themselves as being holders and owners of the real truth, as they perceived themselves as being better, more educated and even more worthy than the ones who have come speaking the truth of God before them.
That was why they refused to listen, as they hardened themselves and their mindset on what they thought were the right ways and attitudes to do. They viewed the words of the prophets and the Lord Jesus as dangerous threats and perhaps even falsehoods from their point of view. That was why they even refused to allow the truth of God to enter into their minds, and continued to do what they thought was right, even when they were actually wrong and committing sins.
Today as we heard all of these, we are reminded that each and every one of us may have been like the Pharisees, the priests, the teachers of the Law and all those who have oppressed the prophets and the Lord Himself. We may have refused to listen to the words of the Lord that He spoke deep within our hearts and minds, and closing the doors of our hearts and minds to Him. We are often so preoccupied with the many worldly matters and concerns that we do not allow God and His truth to get through to us.
Unless we open our hearts and minds, by putting aside ego and pride, desire and greed from all things, by humbling ourselves before the Lord and by realising that each and every one of us are not perfect in our ways and in our thoughts, we will likely not be able to change our ways and as such, continuing to sin, and getting more and more distant from God as time passes by. There is a need for us to reorientate and change our direction in life, so that we may find a new way and path in life, one that leads to the Lord.
Today, all of us are also called to follow the good examples set by St. Vincent Ferrer, in how he devoted his life to the good service of God, travelling to many places and preaching the truth about God to the people in various places. St. Vincent Ferrer helped many people to turn themselves to the Lord, and was very generous with his work among the poor and orphans, caring for the need of the people of God.
Through all these, we are all reminded that we need to have a profound change in attitude and approach in life. And during this season of Lent, we are called to turn away from sin, and to die to our human pride, greed, desire and all the things that have been preventing us from being able to come closer to God. We are reminded through the call to repentance, that each and every one of us are sinful and are in need of healing from God.
Let us all turn away from sin, and let us all refocus our attention to God from now on. May the Lord be our guide, and may He continue to bless us and by His encouragement, may He help us always to overcome the many temptations and challenges in this life. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.
Reflection courtesy –