Jesus cryptically reveals His Divinity and reveals the evil of the Pharisees. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can always marvel that Jesus is the great “I AM” and by seeking the Fruits of Self-control and Forbearance so he can stand strong against all sexual temptations. 

Liturgy

5th Week of Lent – Monday Cycle C – Jn 8:12-20

Commentary

During the Feast of the Tabernacles, a seven-day Jewish festival in Jerusalem which commemorated the fall harvest and God’s provisioning of Israel during the Exodus, Jesus cryptically reveals the true meaning of the two central religious rituals: He is the “living water” (Water Libation Ritual), and the “light of the world” (Light Ritual). After an attempt by the chief priests and Pharisees’ to arrest Him, Jesus thwarts yet another attempt to entrap Him and saves a poor adulteress from stoning, a heroic act of manly courage and Divine Mercy. 

Returning to the Jewish treasury in the Temple, illuminated with magnificent golden candelabras in the Light Ritual to commemorate how God led Israel during the Exodus with a pillar of fire and His revelation to Moses in the Burning Bush, Jesus mysteriously reveals His Divinity in cryptic language which will only be understood after His Resurrection. Saying, “I am the light of the world”, Jesus again (v. 6:35, 10:7, 10:11, 11:25, 15:1) proclaims His Divinity as God did in the great “I AM” revelation to Moses in the Burning Bush (Ex 3:14); Jesus confirms He is the source of all truth, faith, and life.  

Pharisees again attempt (v. 5:33-36) to discredit Jesus by claiming His “self-testimony” is false; Jewish legal tradition required two to three witnesses to prove a claim (Deut 19:15). Rather than seeking testimony from the multitudes who have been miraculously healed, or the many who believe, Jesus simply asserts that His testimony is true by mysteriously referring to His Divinity (“I know where I come from…”) and that His Father bears witness; though not bound by anything, Jesus fulfills Jewish law requiring two witnesses. Rather than explain God the Father to men who are not open, when challenged, Jesus simply rebukes the Pharisees for their ignorance (“You neither know Me or My Father…”). Later, Jesus will reveal the reason the Pharisees reject the truth of Jesus and God the Father: these evil men are the sons of the devil who reject God and reject the truth (Jn 8:42-44).

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at Jesus as He reveals the truth of His Divinity: Person of the Trinity, Jesus is God who revealed Himself to Moses, led Israel in the Exodus, and established the Feast of the Tabernacles; Divine Prophet, Jesus reveals that the true meaning of the long-held Jewish religious rituals were previews of His Incarnation; the perfection of Magnanimity (“greatness of soul”, a part of Fortitude), Jesus reveals His identity as the Son of God and His mission to save men from evil (“Light of the world”). 

Marvel that Jesus is “I AM”

Realize: God reveals Himself through the mysterious I AM statements, first in Exodus and then by Jesus. 

Believe: Reflect upon God’s choice to reveal Himself as I AM (CCC 205-209, 211, 213, 590, 653).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so You help me more fully comprehend the power and wisdom of Christ’s “I AM” statements (Bread of Life, Door, Light, Vine, Shepherd, Resurrection, Life, Truth).  

Beg God for Self-control and Forbearance

Realize: There is great darkness in the world which blinds men and leads to vice and sin: pride, lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy, and greed; lust, fornication, pornography and masturbation are now particularly strong temptations for men. 

Believe: Reflect upon the need to Turn Away from Darkness (CCC 457, 588, 1691, 1707, 1866).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Self-Control and Forbearance so I can completely resist the dark temptations of vice and sin, especially lust.