“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
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.
In the Gospel today, Jesus makes many thought provoking statements; one in particular gives reason for pause: “But you do not want to come to me to have life.” Jesus explicitly reminds us that in order to have eternal life we must whole– heartedly embrace and follow him, even if it doesn’t always come with ease. One way to truly come to Jesus and embrace eternal life is through genuine encounter with our neighbor. It isn’t the easiest option to encounter a stranger with acceptance, or to encounter the sinner with forgiveness, or to encounter the outcast without judgment, but then again Jesus never said following him would be easy.
As I chew on Jesus’ words, I recognize the profundity of Pope Francis’ call for a Jubilee Year of Mercy, because he is calling us to go beyond our comfort zone in order to truly encounter Christ through our neighbor. Let us pray that we may be moved to know Jesus more fully and moved to share mercy.
—Sadie Curtin serves as Co-Director of Faith Formation at the Church of the Gesu, University Heights, OH.
Come to me, all you weary, with your burden and pain;
Take my yoke on you shoulders, and learn from me:
I am gentle and humble, and your soul will find rest,
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
We shall rise again on the last day with the faithful, rich and poor.
Coming to the house of Lord Jesus, we will find an open door there,
we will find an open door.
—Jeremy Young, “We Shall Rise Again” © 1987, GIA Publications, Inc.