We’re entering Holy Week.
Most of the gospel readings in the last weeks of Lent, Holy Week and the Easter season are from John’s gospel. None of the other evangelists dwell so much on the end of Jesus life, his death and resurrection. Only John tells us Jesus came to Jerusalem because his friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. Only John give us the extensive words of Jesus to the Jews during the Jewish feasts and to his apostles at the Last Supper. Only John tells us about the appearances of Jesus to Mary Magdalen and the other apostles after he rises from the dead. Only John tells us about the meeting of Jewish leaders plotting his death, which we read today.
We read John’s gospel of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday. There too only John tells us of Jesus’ conversation with Pilate, about blood and water flowing out from his side, about Mary and John standing beneath his cross.
John is not an historian limiting himself to historical facts to tell us the story of Jesus, as Bill O’Reilly, the tv commentator, does in his book “Killing Jesus”. He doesn’t try to shock us as Mel Gibson does in his movie “The Passion of the Christ.”
John wants to show what’s beyond the facts and the raw details of crucifixion and death.
Today’s gospel is a good example of what he does. The Jewish leaders meet because they’re afraid of what the Romans will do if Jesus stirs up trouble. Politically the best move for the nation and for themselves to do away with him, they decide.
The chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do?
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
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.
So from that day on they planned to kill him. (John 11:45-56)
Another plan is at work, God’s plan, John says. God will bring the dispersed children of God into one. The Divine Shepherd gathers all the nations into one, the Prophet Ezekiel says in our first reading for today. ”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)
Politics and a political decision and a violent execution dominates the meeting of the Sanhedrin. Politics, political decisions and violence seem to dominate the world we live in and the way we see things too. We only see so far. We don’t see far enough. We have to listen to God’s word more.
God’s plan is bigger than politics, but it’s hard to see. The passion and resurrection of Jesus is God’s great sign, but it’s not easy to read. It’s hard to believe in God’s plan when politics seems to dominate everything and a war like the one in Ukraine is more shocking that anything Mel Gibson could make a movie of.
I suppose that’s why we will be reading the Gospel of John so much in our liturgy these days. Seeing God’s plan appearing in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps we will see it more in our lives and our world today.
May God open our eyes to see.
Morning and Evening Prayer here
Children’s Prayers http://www.ourchildrenpray.com
He will come to the feast. Jesus observed the Jewish Passover feast as many of our elders in the faith will observe at sunset tonight. May they be blessed abundantly by God’s love.
The leaders of today have the same problem when their power is challenged. Even in democratic elections, some leaders will not give up their personal agendas to serve the commom good.