An Easy Messiah
April 27, 2021 (readings)
- Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
- Fr. James Swanson, LC
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to pray well so that I may receive the gift of faith: the gift that allows me to follow you out of my comfort zone and into the midst of sacrifices, the gift that makes me part of your flock.
Decide for Yourselves: Jesus spent most of his time in Galilee, but he also made trips to Jerusalem to celebrate feast days. The people in Jerusalem had seen miracles done by Jesus. They had heard and been impressed by his preaching. For them, Jesus was more of a curiosity than a source of salvation. When they asked Jesus to make an open declaration that he was the Messiah, he refused. Instead, he told them that the miracles he has done should be enough proof for them. Are we like these people from Jerusalem, asking always for another sign?
I Believe It!: The Galileans had perhaps seen more miracles and had more opportunities to hear Jesus preach than did those in Jerusalem. They had never heard Jesus say he was the Messiah either, but for the most part, they believed in him. And they gathered by the thousands to hear Jesus preach there. They walked for miles to be with him, sometimes going without food—in other words, they made sacrifices to make him a part of their lives. Their faith was enriched as they looked for ways to be close to Jesus.
A Comfortable Jesus: For the people in Galilee, Jesus was their Savior and they needed him. They thirsted to hear him speak. Some sought his miraculous help. The people in Jerusalem weren’t nearly as interested. They seemed not to need him. They might have gone to see him out of curiosity–“Maybe today he’ll claim to be the Messiah”–but they did not believe. What kind of Jesus are we looking for today? For someone whose presence we need in our lives? Or someone to fix our problems and make us more comfortable?
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, so often I would like my spiritual life to be without challenges so that I can ignore it and focus on what the world offers me. I know that’s not what you want for me. Please bless me with the strength to focus on knowing, loving, and serving you–doing those things that count for eternity–and leave worldliness behind.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will sacrifice some time I usually spend in worldly pursuits to pray a little more.
For Further Reflection: The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison by Frances Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.
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