Our readings today set the stage for Holy Week.
After Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, some Jewish leaders raise the prospect of his death. (John 11,45-59) Their meeting anticipates the final meeting of the Sanhedrin, which will seek the death sentence from Pilate, the Roman procurator, before the feast of Passover.
The meeting was unlikely a cabal of his enemies. Some who favored Jesus must have also been there. From them news of this meeting must have gotten to Jesus, who had his friends among the Jewish leaders.
Caiaphas, the high priest, sees political consequences if Jesus isn’t stopped– the Romans will step in at the sign of a political troublemaker and upset the situation for his nation and its temple. So Jesus must be stopped.
But John’s gospel sees a divine plan at work. Unknowingly, “ 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.
”I will make them one nation upon the land, in the mountains of Israel, and there shall be one prince for them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.” (Ezekiel 37,22)
The Divine Shepherd is gathering all the nations into one, Ezekiel says in our first reading for today. Still, like the high priest Caiphas, the politics of the present usually dominates the world we live in– and the way we see things too. What’s going to happen to our country? We have to take care of ourselves before anything else. We don’t see far enough.
God sees a bigger plan. The passion and resurrection of Jesus is God’s great sign, not only for us personally, but for the future of our world. Today’s readings prepare for what’s coming tomorrow– Palm Sunday, when Jesus enters Jerusalem.
While small-minded leaders plot in the temple area, others who have come to Jerusalem for the feast wonder if he will come. He will come, with greater plans than we can imagine.
May God open our eyes to see:
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