Jesus reveals His Divinity and escapes the evil Jewish leadership’s attempt to stone Him to death. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Studiousness so he can know the Word and live the Word and by growing in the Virtue of Obedience so he can accept and live the fullness of the Catholic faith.
5th Week of Lent – Thursday – Jn 8:51-59
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 revealed His Divinity on multiple occasions. Challenged by Jesus’ miracles and highly provocative preaching, the Jewish leadership failed several times to discredit and arrest Him. Responding to their public harassment, Jesus engaged the Jewish leaders in a lengthy debate, condemning their evil, and revealing that their father is not Abraham or God the Father, but Satan (v 43-50, omitted from the Liturgy). Despite accusing Jesus of being a Samaritan, a grave insult to a religious Jew, and that He is possessed by a demon, Jesus, calmly responds that He does not have a demon, and that the Jews are simply attempting to dishonor Him. Instead of responding with just anger, Jesus mercifully confirms that those who keep His word shall not die; Jesus refers to the eternal life He gives those who repent from sin.
The Jewish leaders viciously respond, again accusing Jesus of having a demon. Lacking the grace to grasp the profound truth of the eternal spiritual life Jesus offers, the Jewish leadership continues to focus on bodily death; rather than seek understanding, they desperately debate, stating that human death is obvious, for Abraham and the prophets died, and accuse Jesus of falsely making Himself greater than Abraham and the prophets. Frustrated, they ask, “Who do you claim to be?”
Before directly confirming His divine identity, Jesus reveals that the Father glorifies Him, the same God the Father who the Jewish leaders claim to honor, but do not. After Jesus reveals that Abraham rejoiced at meeting Him, the Jewish leaders scornfully ask how Abraham, who lived 2000 years earlier, could have met Jesus. He forcefully responds, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Realizing that Jesus has claimed to be the same God who Moses met in the Burning Bush (“I AM”; Ex 3:14), they attempt to stone Jesus to death for blasphemy. Jesus mysteriously conceals Himself and leaves the Temple.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be impressed by the manly Fortitude of Jesus: He has complete Knowledge of the Jews unbelief, rage, and murderous intent; He nevertheless reasserts His Divinity (“I AM”) and Harshly rebukes the Jews, Insulting them as “liars”; Divine Power, He mysteriously escapes, thwarting the violent and angry mob of Jews’ attempt to stone Him to death.
Know the Word and live the Word
Realize: Jesus repeatedly reveals that He keeps God the Father’s word, and that men must keep Jesus’ word; to keep Jesus’ word, every Catholic man must first know His word through the disciplined study of the Bible, particularly the Gospels.
Believe: Reflect upon the need to know Jesus’ word in Sacred Scripture (CCC 131-137; 162, 1177, 1785).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Word, help me build the Virtue of Studiousness (a part of Temperance) so I continually grow in knowledge of Your Word by the disciplined study of Sacred Scripture and I more fully live out Your Word in my daily life.
Be obedient to the fullness of the Faith
Realize: Like the Jewish leadership who denied Jesus, today, some Catholic men deny Jesus by ignoring or rejecting key truths of the Catholic faith (Obligation of Sunday Mass, contraception, fornication, etc.).
Believe: Reflect upon the Obedience of Faith (CCC 2087-2089).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so I absolutely accept the fullness of the Catholic faith and I always seek to imitate the perfect obedience of Your Son.