Gospel text (Jn 8,21-30):
Jesus said to the Pharisees, «I am going away, and though you look for me, you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come». The Jews wondered, «Why does he say that we can't come where he is going? Will he kill himself?». But Jesus said, «You are from below and I am from above; you are of this world and I am not of this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. And you shall die in your sins unless you believe that I am He».
They asked him, «Who are you?»; and Jesus said, «Just what I have told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the One who sent me is truthful and everything I learned from him, I proclaim to the world». They didn't understand that Jesus was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, «When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself, but I say just what the Father taught me. He who sent me is with me and has not left me alone; because I always do what pleases him». As Jesus spoke like this, many believed in him.
«When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He»
Fr. Josep Mª MANRESA Lamarca
(Valldoreix, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the fifth Tuesday of Lent, only one week away from the contemplation of our Lord's Passion, He invites us to look at him in anticipation while redeeming us from the Cross: «Our High Priest is Christ Jesus, his precious body is our sacrifice that He immolated on the altar of the Cross for the salvation of all people» (Saint John Fisher).
«When you have lifted up the Son of Man» (Jn 8:28). The Crucified Christ, indeed,—“lifted up” Christ!— is the great and definite sign of the Father's love towards the fallen Humankind. His open arms, stretched out between Heaven and Earth, outline the indelible sign of His friendship with us, men. By seeing Him like this, lifted up before our sinful glance, we shall realize that He is (cf. Jn 8:28), and then, as those Jews that were listening to him, we shall also believe in Him.
Only the friendship of He, who is fully acquainted with the Cross, may provide us with the needed connaturality to get us into the Redemptor's heart. Pretending the Gospel without the Cross, bare of any Christian sense of mortification, or infected by the pagan and naturalist ambiance which unables us to understand the redeeming suffering values, would place us in the terrible conjuncture of having to hear from Christ's lips: —After all, why should I go on speaking to you?
That our serene and contemplative look of the Cross, be a question to the Crucified, whereby, wordless and noiseless, we tell him: «Who are you?» (Jn 8:25). And He will answer that He is «the way, the truth, and the life» (Jn 14:6), the Stock, which we, poor vine shoots, if not united to, will not be able to bear any fruit, because only him has words of eternal life. And thus, if we do not believe that He is, we shall die by our sins. However, we shall live, despite everything, and we shall already live in this world a Heavenly life, if we take from Him the joyous certitude that the Father is with us, that He will never leave us alone. Thus, we shall imitate the Son by doing always that which pleases the Father.