4/1/2023 (Saturday) Today’s gospel reading: John 11:45-56
45 Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.
48 If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing,
50 nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.”
51 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,
52 and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
53 So from that day on they planned to kill him.
54 So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.
55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves.
56 They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”
4/1/2023 (Saturday) Today’s gospel reflection: John 11:45-56
When Jesus brought back Lazarus to life, many people began to believe in Him. In the gospel reading above, we see the religious authorities shaking in fear of trouble. So they decided that Jesus must die in order to “save the nation” and also, perhaps more importantly, to save themselves in their lofty positions. We see this kind of fear in many political leaders who are afraid of their own people so they resort to persecuting their perceived enemies and enacting repressive policies.
Previously, the religious leaders asked Jesus for signs but when He gave them the sign of Lazarus being brought back to life, they became very afraid. It is said that we must be careful with what we wish for it may come and we really do not like it. That is why our prayers are sometimes not granted. What we are praying for may not be in our best interest. Only God knows what truly make us happy.
It is Passover time and the Jews went up to Jerusalem to purify themselves (Verse 55). Let us not wait for the “proper time” to purify ourselves. Every time is the best time. Also, we need not go to “Jerusalem” to be purified. Yet, for the Jews, Passover is of utmost importance. It is their commemoration of Exodus when God freed their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. Remembering something important gives more value to our purpose in life. Remembering how God has saved us through the passion, crucifixion, and death of His Son makes us realize that we are loved, that we are valued, that we have a purpose in life – to give glory to the One who loves us. This God who loves us is holy and pure. Therefore we must make ourselves pure and holy too. Thus, while every day is purification day, the season of lent is a great time to purify ourselves through prayer, fasting and alms-giving. With the help of our Lord, we can overcome sin and death.
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