Jesus withdraws from Jerusalem until the Passover to avoid the Jewish leadership’s plan to kill Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Gratitude so he can always thank the Father for sending His Son and by building the Virtue of Diligence so he can proclaim Jesus Christ to the many who deny the Truth. 

Liturgy

5th Week of Lent – Saturday – Jn 11:45-56

Commentary

Jesus’ miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead was witnessed by His Apostles, Lazarus’ sisters, and by many Jews from Jerusalem who had arrived to mourn the death of Lazarus. While many believed in Jesus because He raised Lazarus, some were treacherous spies sent by the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem. The chief priests and the Pharisees had sought to arrest and to kill Jesus multiple times, for they refused to believe He was the Messiah. Now, with overwhelming proof of His miracles, the Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) switches tactics; they will justify their murder of Jesus by rationalizing it will protect the Jewish people from uprising and being wiped out by the Romans. 

Caiaphas, the long-time leader of the Sanhedrin, ridicules the council’s handwringing fear, and says, “it is expedient…that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” Caiaphas’ statement is full of irony; despite his evil and ignorance of Jesus, Caiaphas unintentionally reveals that Jesus’ death will actually give life to those Jews (and Gentiles) who believe in Him; it is precisely because many of the Jewish people in Jerusalem do not believe in Jesus’ life-saving death that Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.,  as Jesus predicted (Mt 24:2); hundreds of thousands of Jews will die.

Aware that the Jewish leadership was now completely committed to killing Him, and actively plotting to do so, Jesus withdraws with His disciples to a small town near the wilderness. Completely in control of His destiny, the Son of God intentionally waits for the Passover Feast before He returns to Jerusalem. Jesus will transform the Passover memorial of the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian slavery into the Easter memorial of His Passion and Resurrection, which will deliver all men who repent and believe in Him from the enslavement to sin and eternal death.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at how Jesus, the Son of God accomplishes the salvation of mankind: with Divine Knowledge and Power, Jesus fulfills God the Father’s will by repeatedly confronting the unreceptive Jews in Jerusalem with the Gospel; He remains in complete control of events; He plans and orchestrates the saving action of the Passion and Resurrection by allowing the Jews and Romans to collude and murder Him.

Joyously thank the Father that the Word became Flesh

Realize: God, in His infinite mercy, through the Incarnation, the Word became flesh so men might receive the eternal gift of joy and peace that comes to those who are received into His Kingdom of Heaven. 

Believe: Reflect upon the truth that the Word Became Flesh (CCC 456-460).

Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Gratitude (a part of Justice) so I frequently remember and give thanks for the great blessing that Your Son became flesh and the promise of the eternal joy and peace of Your Kingdom of Heaven.

Proclaim Christ to the many who deny Truth

Realize: The Truth of God has always been rejected by some men: Adam, the Jewish leadership during the Incarnation, and many men today. Every Catholic man is called to proclaim the Truth of God to those who do not yet believe.  

Believe: Reflect upon the Lay Faithful (CCC 897-913, 940-943).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, Prophet and King, help me grow in the Virtue of Diligence (a part of Temperance), so I work hard to fulfill my duty to be a priest, prophet, and king who joyously proclaims Your Truth to non-believers and draws many to Your Holy Catholic Church.