Jeremiah 20:10-13; John 10: 31-42
Remember the old cliché, “Talk’s cheap”? Perhaps you quoted it to someone you knew. It’s been quoted to me more than once. It seems in today’s Gospel it is the approach that the Pharisees are using in trying to discredit Jesus who has told them that he is the Son of God.
Since they know his origin and his occupation, as the carpenter at Nazareth, there is no way that he can be anything more than one of them. As for claiming to be God’s son, they accuse him of blasphemy and decide that he should be stoned to death. Jesus counters by letting them know that if they don’t believe what he says, then they ought to look at his works for proof of who he is. His opponents were well aware of the miraculous healings of the deaf, the blind and the lame, along with his teachings, his forgiving of sins, his advice to the disconsolate, and the myriad of other services he did for people. But they object, that it’s not for the works that they want to stone him, it’s rather for the fact that he continues to claim to be the Son of God.
Genesis 17:3-9; John 8:51-59
“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
The well known “I AM.” The Jews knew that God used those words as a name when speaking to Moses. In today’s gospel John presents an insulting man from Nazareth using those same words to identify himself. “Surely he must be crazy” is a believable and likely response for the typical Jew expecting a triumphant savior. Instead the Jews get a lowly person who rebukes their religious practices and the structure they created for their followers. I like to believe that I would have recognized Jesus as the savior if I was alive during those times, but that is wishful thinking. More likely, I would have been like the many other Jews missing the true identity and teachings of Jesus. Do you think you would have embraced Jesus if you were present during his life? No matter what our answers are, we have opportunities to embrace the “I AM” in the midst of our daily lives.
Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; John 8:31-42
Today’s scriptures are an incredible contrast in how people accept God’s guidance and do His will. From Daniel, the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (you gotta love those names). A story of incredible faith in the face of certain death. Three men whose love for God gives them the resolve to face the wrath of King Nebuchadnezzar (another great name). Even the king marvels that these men would rather die than worship another god. And in the Gospel of John, the story of proud, stiff-necked Jews who refuse to listen, let alone believe, when the Son of God stands in front of them. Jesus tries to advise and guide them, but they are so focused on themselves as descendants of Abraham that they refuse to see. I wonder where I am between these two groups.
In 2018, the Mother of Divine Love Province of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in India ventured into another step ahead in opening a new mission in the State of Tripura. In response to the invitation from the Holy Cross Fathers, the three missionaries namely: Sr. Sharmila Pinto, Sr. Punam Tete and Sr. Ranjita Kujur started their humble beginning in the diocese of Agartala.
Numbers 21:4-9; John 8:21-30
Today's readings show us as the Cranky People of God. In the first reading from Numbers, the Israelites are being led to safety and salvation, out of exile in Egypt and toward their homeland. The journey is long and frustrating. Their complaint? “We are disgusted with this wretched food!”
Perhaps a little more gratitude would have been in order. But the Numbers reading reveals a wonderful story of healing. The people are being plagued by serpents who bite “and many of them died.” When Moses prays for the people, God tells him make an image of a serpent and mount it on a pole. Anyone who looked up at it would be healed. All they had to do was gaze upon it, to trust in God and they would be healed.
Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
The story of “Susanna and the Judgment of Daniel,” today’s Old Testament Reading Is one frequently illustrated in books about Scripture: Susanna, portrayed as a young woman “of great beauty,” somewhat curvaceous, with a fearful look, eyes cast upward, pleading for God’s help while skulking in the background two elderly men whose painted demeanors betrayed evil thoughts.
Is 43:16-21; Phil 3:8-14; Jn 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?"They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more."Jn 8:1-11
WOW!! When I read this story I can't wait until my heart can react the way Jesus did. If our daily journey is to be more like Him, How many times today can you say you've reached across the lines of accusation to forgive someone like that? It's forgiveness that frees you from the chains and bondage of the law. It's forgiveness that gives you the power over sin and death. It's forgiveness that let's someone experience the Love God has shown, not only in this story, but on the cross.
Jeremiah 11:18-20; John 7:40-53
In the Gospel reading today (verses 40 to 53), there is the discussion among the people about who Jesus is, where he comes from and whether he is the Prophet, or the Messiah. Furthermore, the Pharisees think that the ones who believe in Jesus and think he is the Messiah are the “crowds who do not know the law,” and the guards who have also been “deceived” by him. The Pharisees had their own image of God and they knew the law so well that their hearts were closed to Jesus’ revelation of God.
Their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God. (Wisdom 2:21-22)
In today’s reading from Wisdom, we eavesdrop on a surly bunch. They are not troubled by their wicked deeds. They concede their corruption in a cynical way. After all, this is how the world runs. Get used to it. But one guy will not sit at their table. He does not play the game. Without fear, he calls them out. In his face they glimpse their diminished state. Such clear vision is offensive. He must be destroyed and all the rubbish about justice with him. Let his God save him.
Exodus 32:7-14 ; John 5:31-47
Today’s Gospel shows the struggle Jesus is having with the Jewish community. He wants them to take Him seriously. Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true….But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave to me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”