God Will Save His Own
Today’s readings, reminds us that God is our shepherd and he shelters, protects and guards His own. As we draw closer to the Passion week, we see in today’s gospel that the plot to kill Jesus by the religious leaders in Israel thickens. As Jesus preaches and performs wonders, many started believing in Him. Today’s chapter of John’s gospel actually begins with the raising of Lazarus of Bethany.Many who had seen Lazarus raised from the dead after four days believed in Him. Today’s reading then continues. The Pharisees and scribes started rattling because many had already come to acknowledge Him as a prophet (7:40) some even as the Messiah (7:41).
The council agrees that Jesus performs many signs, and the result will be that the Romans will destroy the Holy Places and the nation. Worse still, He claims to be the Son of God.
All this was too much for Caiaphas and the Jewish establishment to bear. If this got out of hand, Caiaphas was going to get out of a job and many of them will become irrelevant. They will not be consulted and all they have worked for we go down the drain.
During the time of Jssus, High Priests held office as long as they enjoyed Roman favour and that will explain the true anxiety over Caiaphas’ remarks. He was not so much concerned about his brethren -the Jewish people; he was most certainly concerned to enforce the ‘Pax Romani’ or the peace of Rome, in order to ensure his own position as high priest.
With the whole Sahendrin gathered to make something out of this, Caiaphas who was the. High priest. for that year said, 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 never knew he wasfuulfilling the prophesy that Chriist death was a ransom for many. In order words, Christ died so that we all could be brought into God’s kingdom. Even with the plot and killing, God the Father still protects and guards His only begotten Son. The first reading and the psalm points to God protection and guard over those who hope in Him.
Today’s gospel passage takes a special meaning by its place in the liturgy of Lent. Tomorrow we will remember the jubilant palm procession that welcomes Jesus to Jerusalem. In the synoptic gospels what follows is the cleansing of the temple, and the judgment against Jesus and the determination that he be destroyed.
On Monday we will hear of another welcome. A dinner celebrating Lazarus life! Mary approach Jesus, open the expensive jar of perfume and pour it over Jesus’ feet. The house is silent as Mary slowly and reverently uses her long hair to wipe the feet of Jesus. Fragrance fills the house. She gives away the rich perfume but wants what clings to Jesus to cling to her also. What a different judgment of Jesus, what a response of love and gratitude to the one who raised her brother to life.
As the high priest acts with anger, so the silence in the home of Bethany is broken when Judas voices his anger. No purity of intention; he too does not understand love. What Jesus did was not only for Lazarus but for all of God’s scattered children, gathering us from the fear of death to life.As we step into Holy week tomorrow, we should find our feet side by side with the disciples on the dusty road to Jerusalem, experiencing closely the ‘great drama’ of our salvation as we join the crowds in shouting, “Hosanna”. You cannot be audience any more. You are on stage. We are part of the mystery that is being celebrated for our salvation. Participate actively and May God bless your heart and direct your mind.
Fr Joseph Osho