March 26, 2010
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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are life and truth and goodness. You are also peace and mercy. How grateful I am to have this moment to turn to you. Without you I can do nothing good. In fact, when I do good, it is you working through me, despite my failings. Thank you, Lord. Here I am ready to love you more.
Petition: Lord, help me to put my faith into action.
1. The Works Give Testimony
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us that our faith is based not only on what God has promised, but also on what he has done. Christ points to his works as the basis for faith in him as the Son: “Even if you do not believe me, believe the works….” The greatest of all these works is his resurrection from the dead, which we will commemorate a few days from now. Works are always more powerful than words. Words may convince the mind, but works move the will to action – to decision. Jesus still continues to do the works of the Father today, especially in the Eucharist and in sacramental confession, as well in the other sacraments. Do I see these works as they really are – true actions of Christ with the power to transform?
2. The World Needs the Testimony of Holy Lives
We can never underestimate the importance and the power of personal testimony in today’s world. We are inundated with information and external stimuli of all types. Words and images and slogans abound. Yet against this cacophonous backdrop, the works of true holiness speak louder than ever before. Pope Paul VI said it best: “Contemporary man needs testimony more than arguments.” In our personal case, do our works match our words? Do our works speak for themselves of what we profess? Or are we “all words and no works?”
3. Let Your Light Shine in the World so that They Might Believe
God’s word has a special ability to penetrate the human heart and conscience. We need to trust the transforming ability of Scripture. When that word is assimilated in the lives of believers, its power is multiplied even more. The tremendous and even virulent opposition Jesus meets at the hands of his adversaries cannot keep others from believing in him. This mystery is repeated over and over again in the life of the Church. Where there is the greatest opposition to the Gospel message, there are also the greatest conversions. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds more abundantly,” (Romans 5:20) to paraphrase Saint Paul. This proven truth should protect us from discouragement in our own efforts to evangelize.
Conversation with Christ:
I believe in you, Lord,
when I cast out my nets one and one hundred times,
and I draw them in wet, empty, almost broken.
I believe that you test your chosen ones,
because when the seed is sunk down into the earth
then it can better take root in God.
I want to abandon myself to you,
that you may place me near you,
as a seal on your heart.
Resolution: I will strive today to make my works match what I profess to believe.
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