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Lord, Speak to Me
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. “I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this opportunity to enter into your relationship with the Father. I welcome your revelations today and humbly ask that you give me the grace to know your will and act upon it.
- Clear Testimony: When Jesus was questioned by the Jews, he drew their attention to the mission of John the Baptist. “The testimony he gives on my behalf is true,” Jesus told them. “But I have a greater testimony.” Jesus was clearly identifying himself as the Messiah, the one whose sandal straps John was unworthy to untie. John’s mission was winding down as Jesus was accomplishing the works the Father sent him to do. We can see the divine plan of salvation clearly unfolding in these few lines of the Gospel. Yet many of Jesus’s listeners missed it. Why? “I know that you do not have the love of God in you,” Jesus said. May we nurture and safeguard the sanctifying grace in our souls so that these words of Jesus are never directed at us.
- Christ Is Always Reaching Out: When Christ was on trial before the Sanhedrin during his Passion, he was quiet and did not defend himself. When he was taken before Herod, he did not say a word. To Pontius Pilate, he said very few words. In today’s Gospel passage, when he is asked to give evidence that he is who he proclaims to be, he speaks eloquently of the testimony of John the Baptist and insists that God the Father also testifies on his behalf. The Scriptures, he says, speak of him as well. It’s as if Jesus is trying his very best to convince the unbelievers one more time about his Sonship and his mission. Likewise, he never tires of speaking into our lives! In moments of doubt or long periods of spiritual drought, we can be confident that Jesus is there, reaching into our lives through our prayer, the sacraments, and our circumstances to speak his truth into our soul. He never abandons us.
- All for Good: Does it seem that Christ was being hard on the Jews? Jesus never ceases trying to reach us with the truth. If we are blind, deaf, or dumb to his message, it can take a lot to awaken us. Christ was very blunt here: “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.” In every encounter, Christ is looking out for our good. Whether we perceive harsh words, difficult circumstances, or unexplained suffering, we can be reassured that Christ knows what we need and can work it all out for our benefit. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you point me to your loving Father! Help me to recognize your voice in my life and to see the evidence of the love that you are sharing with me. When difficulties arise, increase my faith so that I can confidently proclaim that you are at work.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will jot down three blessings that you have given me, as an effort to recognize that you are at work in my life.
For Further Reflection: Searching For and Maintaining Peace, by Jacques Philippe.
Father Joshua West is a Legionary of Christ priest serving as chaplain at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.