Jesus went around Galilee; He would not go about in Judea because the Jews wanted to kill him. Now the Jewish feast of the Tents was at hand. But after his brothers had gone to the festival, He also went up, not publicly but in secret.
Some of the people of Jerusalem said, «Is this not the man they want to kill? And here He is speaking freely, and they don't say a word to him? Can it be that the rulers know that this is really the Christ? Yet we know where this man comes from; but when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from». So Jesus announced in a loud voice in the Temple court where He was teaching, «You say that you know me and know where I come from! I have not come of myself; I was sent by the One who is true, and you don't know him. I know him for I come from him and he sent me». They would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him because his time had not yet come.
I would like to invite you all to see today’s Gospel with three different angles and to live this in your own way.
- People are looking to kill Jesus and Jesus is in the Temple, in the very presence of His enemies. The very presence of Jesus consoles us, because our God will always remain with us, if we desire His presence. If Jesus could reach out even to the killers, He will certainly be with us.
- There are people who dare to see evil even in the divine goodness. Jesus comes with compassion and love, and these people are searching a good moment to make Him disappear. We too are living amidst these people. We need not get panicked, because we are sent towards their conversion and be a witness of divine mercy, even to our enemies. At the same time, there is need to use our intelligence to protect ourselves and be aware of our enemies.
- ‘His time’ is the moment He will lay His life for the salvation of the humanity. No one can touch His life, only God gives it for our salvation. Even this moment of covid-19, though look like terrible, it will one day pass away. God hasn’t willed this for us. However, He can make use of this moment to reveal to us His love and compassion and at the same time our strengths and weakness. In faith, He will certainly accompany us and guide us. Let us not be afraid, because this God is always there with us.
Action of the day: Remain as a person of hope to the people around you.
«His time had not yet come»
Fr. Matthew J. ALBRIGHT
(Andover, Ohio, United States)
Today’s Gospel allows us to contemplate the confusion that arose over the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. As the people come face to face with Jesus, there are misunderstandings and presumptions about who He is, how He will or will not fulfill the Old Testament prophecies and what He will accomplish. Assumptions and judgments lead to frustration and anger. So it is in every age: confusion over faith in Christ and Church teaching sparks controversy and religious disintegration. The flock is scattered if the sheep do not know their shepherd.
The people say: «We know where this man comes from; but when the Christ appears, no one will know where He comes from» (Jn 7:27) and conclude that Jesus cannot be the Messiah because He does not fit the description of “Messiah” that they have been taught. On the other hand, they know that the Chief Priests want Him dead but can see that He is walking about freely without being arrested, so that wonder «Can it be that the rulers know that this is really the Christ?» (Jn 7:26).
Jesus cuts through the confusion by identifying Himself as “sent by the One who is true” (cf. Jn 7:28). He is in charge of the situation, as He is portrayed by John, and no one touches Him because the time has not yet come for Him to fully reveal His identity and mission. Jesus defies expectations by showing Himself to be, not a conquering leader overthrowing Roman oppression but the Suffering Servant of Isaiah.
Pope Francis wrote in “Evangelii Gaudium”: «The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus». It is critical that we help everyone we meet to get beyond presumptions and judgments about who Jesus is and what the Church is and facilitate for them an encounter with Jesus. When a person comes to know who Jesus really is, joy and peace abound.