4th Friday in Lent, March 24, 2023
Wis 2:1a, 12-22; Ps 34:17-21, 23, Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
I enjoy reading the book of Wisdom because it gives us an insight into where the Jewish people were at about 100 years prior to Christ. It not only reminds us how they reacted to persecution, but it also tells us of the hope they had for the coming Messiah. Oh, if they could only see it in their own writings, the prefiguring of Christ to come. It not only tells us Christ was the son of God, it tells us of Christ’s future teachings and how He would suffer as well. It is full of ways for us to grow in our own faith as we await Christ’s passion during Holy Week, and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Today’s Wisdom reading also allows us to reflect on modern times. One does not have to look very hard to see the similarities of the Pharisees and today’s society. How some in society today are trying to cancel us for speaking the truth. Little do they realize how their deceitful ways will only bring them down in the end. As long as we remain faithful to the truth, we do not have to be afraid, and we will prevail.
Being a devout Jew, Jesus had a very good understanding of the Old Testament, and He knew His accusers would know those passages as well. Quite often, Jesus, in His parables and teachings, uses language that reflects back on passages from the Old Testament. Today’s Gospel from John is no exception. The passage, “You know me and also know where I am from,” and following, is a perfect reflection on the passage from Wisdom, “He calls the destiny of the just, and boasts that God is his Father.” Jesus makes it perfectly clear who He is, where He came from, and who His Father is. The Jews in Jerusalem knew all too well He was referring back to those passages. And if we stand firm in our faith, those trying to cancel us will know where our strength comes from.
As we reflect on these words today, while it is good to understand and study the relationships, it is better to listen with our hearts and see the hope included in the readings. While we may be downtrodden that Jesus will ultimately be killed, we take hope as written in today’s Psalm, “The Lord redeems the lives of his servants, no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.” Jesus was not afraid, and neither should we be. While there are many out there who choose to persecute and hate us for what we believe, we still need to stand firm and know that God will prevail. The book of Wisdom tells us so, as does the Psalms, and as does Jesus.