As we read extensively from John’s gospel these last weeks of Lent, we wonder why his gospel, unlike the synoptic gospels, has much of Jesus’ ministry take place in Jerusalem during the Jewish feasts of the Sabbath, Pentecost, Tabernacles and the Dedication of the Temple. (John 5:1-10:32) During the celebration of the Passover–John11:1-20:29 – John presents Jesus fulfilling the feast in his passion, death and resurrection.
Feasts were special signs of God’s presence for the Jews and so they were appropriate signs for the Word of God to make himself known.
Commentators also say that the Jewish-Christian communities John writes for, like their Jewish neighbors, were struggling to stabilize their way of worship after Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 AD, causing a critical disruption in their life of prayer.
Can we say that John’s Gospel wishes to affirm the celebration of feasts in his communities, beginning with the Sabbath? Jesus appears on this day to his disciples, even to doubting disciples like Thomas, and renews them in faith.
It seems to me we are experiencing as a church today a similar disruption in our life of prayer, due to the steady trend of secularization and events like the Covid pandemic. Our days are becoming faithless. We need to redeem them from becoming insignificant, beginning with the Sabbath.
Besides Sunday– if we can take a clue from John’s Gospel– we need to make our everyday calendar a sign of God’s presence. That’s why I post a calendar on this blog every month.
Fr Victor. Thank you for these remembrances and your blog. God Bless You. Harry