Provoking a Decision

Challenge: Make a special effort today to give constant, silent testimony to your faith.
by Father Robert Presutti, LC | Source:

April 3, 2009 
Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

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.

Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you once again for this time of prayer. Help me each day to grow in my love and appreciation for prayer and the intimacy you offer.

Petition: Lord Jesus, once again I ask for the gift of self-detachment. May I never unknowingly reject you.

1. Faithlessness Paints Everything Black.
The Pharisees are again picking up rocks to stone the Lord. Christ points out to his would-be-assassins that all he has ever done is good. Christ’s life is composed of one good work after another. The Pharisees don’t see the obvious because they are willfully resisting the Lord, and, in the end, are too attached to themselves to let go. The effect of willful resistance to the Lord is that it distorts our view of everything else.

2. Humble Strength.
Jesus never imposes himself or exercises his divine authority for self-satisfying justification. Rather than continue to provoke the unbelieving Pharisees, he quietly retires across the Jordan. This was where John had baptized Jesus, and where the Lord’s public ministry had begun. In the face of opposition, difficulty and apparent defeat, Jesus teaches us to go to the roots of our vocation and there encounter renewed strength.

3. The Many Believe in Him.
The simple crowds display a greater acceptance of Christ than the educated leaders. The common folk accepted, loved and followed the Lord not because he fit their pre-selected categories or because they perfectly understood him, but because they allow their hearts and minds to be shaped by the Lord’s message and life. Our pathway to the Lord lies more in decisions of the heart than in exercises of the mind. I need to understand Christ by accepting and following him, rather than accepting and following him only when I have him perfectly figured out.

Dialogue with Christ: Jesus, thank you for the gift of the Gospel and the gift of your Holy Spirit that enable me to understand your words and apply them to my own life. I pray that I might never fall into a hypocritical self-righteous attitude that would make me see you and your teaching as a threat.

Resolution: I will make a special effort today to give constant, silent testimony to my faith.

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