Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Lectionary: 256

He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.

The Gospel of Saint John divides into two sections, called the Book of Signs and the Book of Glory. Today's gospel closes the first, and represents the transition to the second. We have seen Jesus give marvelous "signs." They were in the form of teachings (Nicodemus), preternatural knowledge ("You have five husbands!"), healing the sick and reviving the dead (Lazarus). 
Each sign demonstrated to those who would believe Jesus' identity and mission. They proved nothing to skeptics, nor did that worry the Evangelists. They were not cursed with our preoccupation with "scientific proof." They knew that Truth is revealed by knowledge of God; it is not a rickety theory built of uncertain facts. 
The disciples of Jesus have demonstrated through a series of tests their willingness to believe in Jesus. Many had followed him at one time or another; most decided they'd heard enough and walked away. We saw a major culling of the flock when Jesus declared, "You must eat my flesh and drink my blood." 
As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
That painful process of separating sheep from goats continued even in this eleventh chapter: 
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 
A friar recently asked me if the VA hospital has success in helping alcoholics and drug addicts to recover. 
I replied, "Call no man happy before he has died.The addict can always return to his abuse; the faithful spouse can abandon marriage; doting parents can disown their children. 
The faithful pray each day for perseverance in their vocation.  Disciples of the Lord can always turn away from him; he does not deny our freedom.  
As we enter Holy Week we beg the Lord to give us that courageous Spirit that will follow him through the Valley of Death, even to Calvary. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.