WIS 2: 1A, 12-22
PS 34: 17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23
JN 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30
We are now only a short time from Holy week, and the tension is mounting. There is a buildup of anticipation and plans of action in today’s readings. In the first reading, suspense grows as people blinded with wickedness plot ways to put Jesus, this man claiming to be the Son of God, to the test. In the Gospel, the writers of John tell us that Jesus is aware that, although “his hour had not yet come” (7:30), it must getting close, and so He traveled through Galilee “not openly but as it were in secret” (7:10).
For me, this act of laying low shines an especially humble and human light on the life of Jesus. Here is the one prophesized in Isaiah as our “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, [and] Prince of Peace” (9:5), the one who need only call upon God to send twelve legions of angels for His protection (Mt 26:53)—and He is being cautious, taking the road less traveled, bypassing situations that could potentially start the motions of the Passion before their due time. There is no blatant testing of God’s will here, but rather patience and trust. For every challenge and triumph we face, there is a time and a place set by the God who set all things in motion. Lord, during this Lenten season, help us to let go of our perceived control of time and depend on Your hand to guide us.
In the Gospel, while Jesus is speaking in Jerusalem, the people simplify Jesus based on the little understanding they have of him. They say He can’t be the Christ because they believe they know where He is from, whereas the Christ will come from an unknown place. Geographically speaking, perhaps the people of Jerusalem are correct, but they do not grasp who Jesus is.
We often have the same assumptions about our fellow Billikens on campus. One question we ask someone we meet is often, “Where are you from?” Whether or not we are cognizant of it, many of us associate where people came from with who they are. As we move through college, sometimes these places of origin evolve into a more familiar context, such as an apartment, residence hall or floor. Lent is a time to look at ourselves holistically, to acknowledge where we come from and realize that it does not have to define where we go from here. God is with us at our first step just the same as our last. It is also a time to consider the holistic experience of others as we support each other in our Lenten journey of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Lord, let compassion and curiosity flow from us as we seek to understand the deeper experiences of our brothers and sisters.
Ellen Quinn is a senior in the School of Social Work and a student worker with the Center for Service and Community Engagement.