Thursday, 4th Week of Lent

Lent 1
Different witnesses take the stand in John’s gospel today (John 5,31-47) and we listen to them testify for Jesus. They counter the false witnesses brought forth when Jesus stands before Caiphas, the high priest.

John the Baptist, “a burning and shining lamp,” speaks for him. The miracles and works of healing Jesus performed speak for him. His heavenly Father, who draws to his Son those unhindered by pride, speaks for him. Then, the scriptures, long searched by the Jews for the way to eternal life, “testify on my behalf.”

These are the ways faith in Jesus comes to us even now. How faithfully do we accept them? The church, like John the Baptist, points Jesus Christ out to us; are we guided by its light? His works and words and miracles are proclaimed in the scriptures; do we search into them? Our heavenly Father draws us to his Son; do we pray for faith and humility to accept his grace?

We’re reminded by scholars that “the Jews” spoken of in these passages of John’s gospel are not the whole Jewish nation but those who opposed Jesus because pride and position turned them against him. Ever since, people still oppose him. In Lent, the voice of the Father says once more: “Listen to him.”

Mystics like Paul of the Cross knew that faith is a gift of God; we don’t get it by reason alone. He recommended prayer, steady prayer, as a means to nourish and strengthen faith. “Every time your soul recollects itself in God, in the inner temple of your soul, it is born anew to a new life of love in the Divine Word Jesus Christ. I pray the Lord to help you understand and practice what I am teaching. In this recollection in the flame of holy love all the remains of sin are destroyed and the soul is renewed in God.”(2041)

O God,
Giver of all gifts,
Strengthen my faith.

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