March 23, 2013

The Gospel Today

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Jn 11: 45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done.
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do?
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

Reflection (Sem. Primitivo N. Eublera, Jr.)

Today’s gospel reminds us of the plot to kill our Lord Jesus Christ. The Sanhedrin, which is the highest judicial body in ancient Israel (equivalent to the Philippines’ Supreme Court), decided to kill Jesus. Caiaphas, the high priest of the body, prophesied Jesus’ death; Jesus did many miracles and they were afraid everyone would believe in Him and that the Romans would destroy their holy place and even their nation. By killing Jesus, they would preserve the political peace and survival of Israel. However, there is this other meaning of Caiaphas’ prophecy which he was unaware of. With the death of Jesus, a new Israel which is the Church is being founded. His dying on the Cross and eventually His resurrection, gathers all peoples, all nations, to be one, as Jesus and the Father are one.

Now, this is a challenge for us. Tomorrow is the start of the Holy Week through the Passion and Death of our Lord, otherwise known as Palm Sunday. What preparations are we doing? Are we only resolved to do the yearly pious practices and rituals especially during this Holy Week? Or are we now resolved to go deeper with our true introspection and self-assessment? Are we deepening our relationship with God     by seeing Christ in each one of us? As St. Paul said, he always would have wanted to do good things but it was the opposite that he did. Certainly, we would want also to do good actions but we end up doing the opposite. However, because Jesus loves us so much, He instituted the Eucharist and Priesthood and gave us the sacraments. These are actually the sacraments of His love to us. And one of which I am always repeating and repeating in my previous reflections, is another important sacrament, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (Speaking in practical matters, let us confess much earlier, if possible and not overburden the priests on the Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Saturday when most people crowd the confessional.)

Before going to the confessional, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Refuge of Sinners, to always assist us to confess well our sins and have a true resolution like what we pray in the Act of Contrition: to sin no more and avoid any occasion of sin. Jesus, King of Mercy, we trust in You!

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