FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
Fifth Thursday of Lent, April 11, 2019
WORD of the DAY
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” (So) the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area. (John 8: 51-59)
How shall I live this Word?
Those stones from which the adulteress was spared at the beginning of the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John, now – at the end of the same chapter – are about to be hurled at Jesus, because blasphemy does not admit indulgence or concerted mediation. The Jews lived by a religion linked to the triumphalist cult of the past, but they did not tolerate any interference in the present time. It is not possible that God today can disturb our life and the balance that we have built by balancing devout practices with a gratifying social and economic position. Abraham and the prophets have done their part, but as far as we are concerned we want to live in peace, preserved from every shock and juggling ourselves in the present security for which we do not stop raising hymns of praise. Having made Abraham a mummy subject only to some restoration and destined to be resurrected from time to time, the Jews showed that they have betrayed their spirit and message. They ignored that the Word of God is alive and guarantees the life of those who hear it, and only adherence to what is alive leads to a process of regeneration and communion. Deciding to stay with Jesus is a courageous choice for which we commit our lives and make the fundamental leap of faith towards the One whom we consider worthy of being listened to and believed.
We will remember these words of Jesus when we too will be criticized and considered “dreamers” who have lost touch with reality. I will take time today to memorize some excerpts from the Word of God and ponder them so that they may become mine, flesh of my flesh, my nourishment, and style of my being in the world.
THE VOICE OF Hilary of Poitiers, Church Father
The best reader is the one who expects the understanding of words from the words themselves and does not impose them; the one who reports and does not add, and does not make them appear to be contained in the expressions as he already presumed to understand before reading them”.
Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Via dell’Ateneo Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
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Comment by Fr. Enrico Emili