Friday, March 18 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Lent
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Holy Gospel: John 10:31-42 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.
Meditation: Why were the religious leaders so upset with Jesus that they wanted to kill him? They charged him with blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus made two claims in his response: He was consecrated by the Father to a special task and he was sent into the world to carry out his Father’s mission. Jesus challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument. Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power to those who believe.
Prayer: O God, who through the Bishop Saint Cyril of Jerusalem led your Church in a wonderful way to a deeper sense of the mysteries of salvation, grant us, through his intercession, that we may so acknowledge your Son as to have life ever more abundantly. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Have you consecrated your life to God? Do you strive to grow in holiness and grace? The scriptural understanding of consecration is “to make holy for God” – to be given over as a free-will offering and sacrifice for God. Jesus made himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of his Father consecrating him for this mission of salvation. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world. Are you a doer of God’s word, or a hearer only, failing to put into action that which is taught to us in the sacred scriptures so that we may live in the light of Christ? God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy and truths of the Gospel.
As we approach Holy Week: The holiest week of the year in the Christian world is upon us – let’s make sure that we put the “holy” back in Holy Week; it’s not just another week of the year. Let us live this week illuminated with the light of Christ, so that his light shines through each of us. Let us set aside this one week of the year for added prayer, scripture reading and meditation, daily Mass, the Stations of the Cross. Let us remember most of all to thank Christ for his gift of the Eucharist, for his suffering the Passion and death on the cross with the weight and pain of the cross being our own sinfulness, and for the celebration of Easter to come. There is so much that each of us can gain by immersing ourselves in all that Holy Week has to offer. Don’t miss out on this most holy week of the year for you and your family members and friends to walk alongside Christ.
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.