Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 3-30-23

Fifth Week of Lent, Thursday, 3-30-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading Gn 17:3-9; Ps 105: 4-9; Gospel Jn 8:51-59
Theme: A Change of Mind

I would have to say, if I was a Jew in Jesus’s time and some stranger told me that if I kept their word, I would never see death, I, too would probably look at them with skepticism. Who the heck is this guy who is telling me something completely contrary to what I have known all my life? He must be out of his mind. I mean, what I have been taught and have lived all this time cannot be wrong, can it?

The Jews, since Abraham’s time, have believed that there is no life after death. Death for them is a permanent state of non-existence, of nothingness, gone forever. They believed that when you die you go into Sheol, which is a state of nothingness or oblivion in the bowels of the earth. So, for someone to come along and be so radical as to say that there is life after death, which counters all they have believed in for over 2,000 years, they must be crazy, right? Yet, this is exactly what Jesus told the Jews.

But Jesus was no “local yokel.” He had been performing great signs and wonders never seen before. He was teaching a way that brought the fulfillment of the Jewish law by turning that law into one of love for neighbor instead of a legal hammer inflicted by the authorities. But, even after all the miracles Jesus performed, they still would not believe that there actually could be a deeper meaning to their ancestry, their teaching, and their father Abraham.

Jesus challenges the Jews of his time, and many others, to look deeper into their past and their belief and see what Abraham saw in God’s covenant. What did Abraham see? He saw that not only was God the creator of all things and the protector of those who believed in Him, but that He was the giver of life, even that beyond death. Abraham saw that there would be another from his line that would fulfill that promise. Unfortunately, the descendants of Abraham over the course of time, became consumed with earthly life and forgot about this great promise from the Almighty.

For you and me, maybe it is time we think about what we know to be the truth and view it in Christ’s light. Does it challenge us to change our way of thinking and maybe relinquish what the world has taught us over time and start fresh with a completely new reality? I think many of us are not so different from the Jews of Jesus’s time.

It is ok if we have wandered from the path, as long as we are open to reconnecting with the original truth and making a correction in our direction to get back on the right path. When you are wandering around in the wilderness of life, stop and look around for that rock cairn, Jesus Christ, which marks the path of truth, forgiveness, and everlasting life for us all. When you do, you will find meaning, fulfillment, and everlasting life.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL