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Believing in the Words of Jesus
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So, the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the eternal Son of the Father and I look to you for direction, salvation, and guidance in my life. I ask for a deep faith to believe all that you reveal, even when it is hard for me.
- “I Told You and You Do Not Believe”: Why did the Jews not believe Jesus? Did Jesus preach a difficult message? Were they unwilling to give up some habit they were attached to? How willing are we to believe Jesus? I can think of a great number of converts, St. John Henry Newman among them, who suffered tremendously when converting to Catholicism. These converts lost friends, prestige, jobs; yet they gained much more and were joyful in the midst of their suffering because they had found the truth. Daring to believe implies authentic conversion, and it is rewarded by a joyful heart overflowing with God’s grace.
- “The Works I Do in My Father’s Name Testify to Me”: Jesus did not flinch at the lack of belief among the Jews. He did not back down or change his message. He called to mind the works that he had done, miracles that included raising a man from the dead, curing the blind and sick, and feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, among others. He stood by the radical mission he had been given and said that if they did not believe his words alone, then they should believe his actions. Our actions speak louder than our words. As Christians, do we live what we preach, what we say we believe? Only then will our words be trustworthy. Then we are authentic followers of the Lord.
- “My Sheep Hear My Voice; I Know Them, and They Follow Me”: Even though the Jews did not believe Jesus, many of his followers did. They gave up houses, brothers or sisters, mother or father, land or other things for the sake of Jesus and his Gospel (Mark 10:29). To these, Jesus promised eternal life. Belief in Christ means living in accord with the Gospel, following him when it is hard to believe or when persecution ensues. It is all worthwhile because this life is passing. That which we do on earth is valuable when it is done for a supernatural goal: to love the Lord and his people.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I try to do things well. With good intentions, I seek to provide for my family, to make ends meet, to enjoy time with those I love. Help me to worry less about things and more about people. Teach me to love them in your name.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will seek to set aside something I want to do for the sake of quality time with someone I love.
For Further Reflection: Check out the testimony of Dr. Ian Murphy, former Baptist minister who journeyed home to the Catholic Church.
Written by Renee Pomarico, CRC