At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
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)
Oh how Jesus calls me out in today’s Gospel. There I am in the scene, oh how many times I shout to the Lord, “tell us (me) plainly.” Show me the way with clear language, and a lightning bolt from the heavens wouldn’t hurt either.
And Jesus responds, “I told you.” What, where, how did I miss that, Lord? Because it wasn’t in that lightning bolt I was so earnestly waiting on, but in the “works I do in my Father’s name testify to me,” our Gospel today proclaims. Oh, that is where the revelation is, in the works You do, Jesus? In your healing, preaching, justice seeking, and reaching out to the outcast? In your schools, hospitals, and refugee tents? In the people you encounter in your earthly and heavenly ministry ongoing?
The good news of John’s Gospel today is salve for this seeking soul that can so often look for the bright lights of revelation and miss Christ in all things. This revelation evades me only to the degree that I am out of touch with others in service, in the works Jesus speaks to today. When I am in the place of service for others I am connected with Jesus and know His voice, a voice so often discovered in the simple encounter with another.
Lord, sometimes as the days and nights close out another season, life seems to move so fast. We notice changes in ourselves and our friends that remind us that our youth is behind us and our future has diminishing years before it.
Lord, your word tells us this is actually good news: You want us to live forever in a perfect place, not on a planet marred by sin. With gratitude and hope we cling to your promise that “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.”
—The Jesuit Prayer Team