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All Things New
Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, such chaos is happening in this passage. Why could these people not see you for who you are? Help me to hear your voice above the dissenting crowd. May I always recognize you as my Savior, King, and God.
- You Cannot Ignore Christ: Everyone was bickering about just who this Jesus was and what his purpose was. One thing is for certain: he could not be ignored. The same is true today. Those who deny Jesus’ identity as God must always negate their belief in him. He must be addressed. An atheist is exactly that, “a-theist,” one who denies there is a God. Surely this is one ironic sign of his divinity—that he cannot be ignored. He is one who must be reckoned with. This could be an interesting way to engage with an interlocutor who does not believe in God, of course in a charitable way.
- Division: It is easy to assume that Jesus came to bring peace to the world. After all, he is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He brings peace, but not in the ways that one might think. Jesus said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house, there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53). Unfortunately, Jesus’ presence brings division between the people who believe in him and those who do not. You can see the effect he has on the people in today’s Gospel passage. They argued and pointed fingers at each other. Once Jesus completely establishes his Kingdom on Earth, then there will be peace. But until then, we will continue to confront the messiness of life.
- What a Mess: Have you ever noticed that to clean up a mess, you sometimes have to make a bigger mess to fully put everything into order? When you clean out a closet, you have to get everything out, sort it, determine what to keep and what to donate, and then put everything back. Things can appear to be in total disarray when actually they are being rightly ordered. This is one way that God works in our lives, and it is a mystery how his will unfolds for us. Life can look very messy when we are intent on orienting our lives to Christ, either for the first time or when we are working on a problem. Our old ways of doing things can appear like an unruly jumble of closet items, all piled up around us. We can be tempted to quit working and go back to what is comfortable, although disordered. But Jesus will create peace if we continue to order our lives toward him. He is Emmanuel, God-with-Us. In the end, he will live with us forever and our lives will be perfectly ordered to him; our unity will be perfect: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:3-5).
Conversing with Christ: My Jesus, sometimes this life seems in disarray. I see a tangle of knots that are issues and problems in my life and society and I can get discouraged. Give me the courage to order my days in your peace when life is messy and help me look forward to the time when you will make all things new.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray a rosary to Mary under the title of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, asking her to help untangle an issue or mess in my life or in society.
For Further Reflection: Read this General Audience Address given by Pope Francis on August 23, 2017: Behold, I Make All Things New.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.