Monday, 4 March 2019

ST. JOHN 7:11-20


The Jews were looking for Him at the feast and saying, “Where is He?” And there was considerable murmuring about Him in the crowds. Some said, “He is a good man,” while others said, “No; on the contrary, He misleads the crowd.” Still, no one spoke openly about Him because they were afraid of the Jews. [vs.11-13]

This combination among the people of seeking Jesus and disputing His goodness or not, as well as the people’s fear of the authorities, occurs even in our own day.

Even more deeply in our day, within the spiritual restlessness of souls, the surrounding culture facilitates, aided and abetted by satan, the spread of ego-centric searching, which means countless people seek Christ not to encounter Him but to disdain Him, seek truth not to be enlightened but to claim truth as their own, thus their minds and souls become darkened with subjectivism, relativism and all sorts of ‘isms’, and they wander through life lost and forever restless.

When the devil says in the third chapter of Genesis: “your eyes would be opened and you would become like God”, these words express the full range of the temptation of mankind, from the intention to set man against God to the extreme form it takes today. We could even say that in the first stage of human history this temptation not only was not accepted but had not been fully formulated. But the time has now come: this aspect of the devil’s temptation has found the historical context that suits it. Perhaps we are experiencing the highest level of tension between the Word and the anti-Word in the whole of human history. [1]

When the feast was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple area and began to teach. The Jews were amazed and said, “How does He know scripture without having studied?” [vs.14-15]

Since the feast lasted eights days from this verse it would appear it was into the fourth day of the feast when Jesus went to Jerusalem and entered the temple, St. John noting the amazement of the people because Jesus was presumed to be unlearned, that is He had not studied at one of the Rabbinical schools.

Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not My own but is from the One who sent Me. [v.16]

This verse reveals again Jesus’ attentiveness to His mandate from the Father, both in actions and in words. The Church Herself must only teach what Christ has taught us, and what since Pentecost the Holy Spirit has informed the Church about in all areas of life, flowing from foundationally the words of Christ and through Him in whom all Scripture is fulfilled, what is in the treasury of Sacred Scripture and through the Apostles and Fathers of the Church become part of Sacred Tradition: "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."…… "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.”……. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."…….. "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.”…… the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence." [2]

Whoever chooses to do His will shall know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own. Whoever speaks on his own seeks his own glory, but Whoever seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is truthful, and there is no wrong in Him. [vs.17,18]

With these words Jesus is pointing towards the Father, towards Himself and towards us.

The Father tells us whom Jesus is, His Beloved Son, and what our relationship is to be with Jesus, we are to listen to Him [cf. Mt. 3:7; 17:5; Mk. 1:11; 9:7; Lk. 3:22; 9:25] and listening to Jesus we hear the fullness of the Gospel as mandate, a mandate to be lived with our lives without compromise.

To accomplish the will of the Father we begin with the constant cry for the grace, as Jesus teaches us, that the Father’s will be accomplished in us, within the human family, [cf. Mt. 6:9-13; Lk. 11:2-4], for in the Our Father we find the entirety of the Holy Gospel, thus we imitate Christ, always asking the Holy Spirit for discernment in the choices we make as we accomplish the will of the Father and speak the truth of the Gospel.

Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill Me?” The crowd answered, “You are possessed! Who is trying to kill you?” [vs. 19.20]

By now, though St. John does not say so specifically, Pharisees and Sadducees and others who hated Jesus, may well have mingled into the crowd. The stark judgement of Jesus may well be directed towards them. Saying Jesus is possessed is the modern equivalent of dismissing the Holy Father for whatever reason when he challenges the relativistic ‘morality’ of the current age, or whenever Christianity is challenged, for those who fear challenge and truth the last redoubt is ad hominum argument, that is to attack the person, rather than discuss the idea.

It is critical we recall always, whether we are meditating St. John’s Gospel account or that of any of the other Evangelists, we keep before our hearts:  In the beginning was the Word, and

the Word was with God,…..[cf. John 1: 1-14]

The danger is we, like Bultmann and other scholars have done, Gandhi and other influential people throughout history, will be so focused on Jesus in His humanity in His actions and teachings we forget the fullness of Jesus Christ, Word of God, Son of the Father, Redeemer.

In the presence of Jesus, we are in the presence of the Holy Trinity, for where Jesus is, the Father and the Holy Spirit are.

We are in the Presence of Love, and Love is present to we the beloved.

[1] Sign Of Contradiction, by Karol Wojtyla, St. John Paul II; p.34; The Seabury Press, 1979

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church #s 75-82

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph

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