Friday of the 5th Week of Lent
March 26, 2021
Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7; John 10:31-42
Why were the religious leaders in today’s gospel so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? It was because he claimed to be the Son of God and he made himself equal with God. The law of Moses laid down the death penalty for such a crime in the Book of Leviticus where scripture states that: “He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him”.
As they were picking up stones to hurl at Jesus, believing that he had committed blasphemy, he met their attack with arguments pointing to the many good works that he did, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry. Jesus’ works demonstrated that his power and marvelous deeds obviously came from God.
He challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument.
Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claim to be the Son of God solely on what scripture says of him, but also on what he does. Unlike the religious leaders of his time, Jesus not only talked the talk, he walked the walk. And he challenges us to do the same.
The question we must ask ourselves today is whether or not we are walking the walk or just talking the talk. Are we doers of God’s word, or are we forgetful hearers?
Do we welcome the Word of God into our lives in such a way that we allow it to transform us into true followers of Christ, those who not only give mental assent to the truth of the Gospel message, but who take that message into our hearts and allow it to change us, to humble us, to embolden us so that we are able to live our lives for others, rather than simply to satisfy our own needs and desires?
In the Book of James we hear “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Later in the Book of John at the Last Supper Jesus makes it clear that if we are his disciples we must love and care for one another when he commands, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as true followers of Christ we must take the gift of faith we have been given and put it into action. It’s not enough to pray if that prayer doesn’t change us into a people who truly love their neighbor and perform works of mercy to encourage and help them in their time of distress.
So I ask all of us to consider today what works of mercy we are doing that show the world that we are disciples of Christ? What are we doing to heal the divisions that exist among one another, especially those who may have hurt or offended us? Those who may have a different world view than we have, who have opinions that are different from our own? Are we acting as agents of love and mercy, or as one who sits in self-righteous judgement of those who do not conform with our beliefs and preferences?
So my dear friends in Christ, let us ask ourselves honestly, are we really walking the walk of the Gospel message, or are we just talking the talk?
God bless you.