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You Are Gods
Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods’? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I humbly ask for this grace: a holy integration of my intellect, my will, my heart, and the actions of my life.
1. “You, a Man, Are Making Yourself God”: The Jews were enraged by Jesus’s seemingly casual reference to God as his “Father.” In truth, it was admirable that they wished to defend God’s honor and highly reverence the name of “God,” not realizing God was standing before them. In our time, the name of the Lord is tossed about casually, even used as an angry swear word. The Second Commandment “prescribes respect for the Lord’s name” (CCC 2142). We do well to meditate on the Holy Name of Jesus, reciting our vocal prayers slowly and reverently. “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalms 8:1).
2. “I Am in the Father”: Jesus is the perfect model of union with the Father, which we too should pray to attain in our lives. In fact, the Shema states clearly: “Hear, O Israel. The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). This loving union is the key to being properly integrated and living holy lives. When we are united with God, our words and our works are in harmony, and we are like gods, as revealed in Psalm 82:6, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.”
3. “Many There Began to Believe in Him”: It is almost comical how people can see the same exact thing, or hear the same exact words, and have quite different impressions. Even within our own spiritual lives, there are times we have great faith and other times we feel cold or even angry with God. How ironically human that souls who so ache for the love that only God gives can sometimes feel antagonistic toward him. Let us follow the example of the “many”; let us listen to John the Baptist and the wisdom of other saints, and to Jesus himself, and believe with our will, even when our hearts don’t “feel it”!
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, our human pride can make us so arrogant. We can doubt and question and challenge you, and even disrespect your name. Jesus, please soften my heart, enlighten my mind, and rid me of pride. I want to know you and love you and serve you, all the days of my life.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will picture myself in the company of great saints, and imagine them cheering me on with these words: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
For Further Reflection: Pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus.
written by Mary Wolff