After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple,“ You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Today’s Gospel recounts a very human cry from a breaking heart — Jesus’ heart. Watch him in your imagination as he insists with his skeptical fellow Jews: “I did not come on my own! God sent me: I am from Him!” As he draws near to his impending betrayal and death, Jesus increases his efforts to get through to the very people he has come to bring back to his Father and theirs.
He must have remembered with desolation and sorrow the passage used for the first reading today. It foretold the tragic reality he was living! For these people, he was not the God-sent bearer of Good News, but “the just one who is obnoxious to us.”
If you ever feel misunderstood or misjudged, if you ever experience the crushing sense of being ignored or ridiculed or despised by people you’re working hard to help – think what a faint reflection that is of what Jesus went through for our sake. Turn to him in your heart with gratitude, ask him to help you serve others unselfishly even when you’re unappreciated, to persevere even without the gratification our human hearts naturally seek.
A prayerful aspiration that’s always been full of meaning for me is one you might want to use as a conclusion to today’s reflection. Pray it repeatedly, meaning it deeply: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart more like your own!”
—Fr. John J. O’Callaghan, S.J., Vice-President for Mission & Ministry, Loyola University Medical Center
Soul of Christ, make me holy; Body of Christ, send me in your service. Blood of Christ, drench me in compassion; Water from Jesus’ side, wash away my weakness and sin. Passion of Christ, heal my heart and strengthen my spirit these life-giving days of Lent.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team