One with the Father
April 4, 2022 (readings)
- Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
- Andrew Rawicki
Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.” So they said to him, “Where is your father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area. But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Opening Prayer: Blessed Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–you exemplify love and truth. I want to know you more intimately and imagine your goodness. Grant me the grace in this meditation to see through the darkness and respond to your light, and to refrain from judging others by appearances. Let me hear your words in Scripture, Jesus, and have them enter both my mind and my heart, so that I can better know the Father, with the help of your Holy Spirit.
Shedding Light: The eighth chapter of John’s Gospel started with the dark tale of a woman caught in adultery and an angry mob threatening to stone her. The situation was defused by impelling the crowd to come out of the darkness and look at themselves in the light of Christ. Jesus now explained in the following verses that he himself is the light. How should we approach this light? We must follow, close enough to “hear the shepherd’s voice” (John 10:27) and to allow our hearts to be moved by his actions in our lives. May we cultivate a stronger habit of daily prayer, along with more frequent reception of the sacraments, confident that this prescription will keep us from slipping back into darkness.
Staying Close to the Light: Scripture is rich with imagery of darkness and light. The second verse of the Bible tells us that God viewed the beginning of creation and saw darkness, compelling him to utter the first words of his that are recorded: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). God then assessed, for the first time, that something he created was “good”—light. Perhaps the most famous of all of the psalms, which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd,” reminds us (in today’s psalm response) that this good light is available to us in our most troubled times. “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side” (Psalm 23:4). Jesus comes to our side and walks with us if we just allow him to be our light in the darkness. When we see a lot of darkness in the world, we know that Jesus has conquered the world. We fear no evil when we keep him close.
Glimpses of the Blessed Trinity: Fearing the light of the world that threatened to expose their hypocrisy, the Pharisees sought to discredit this man Jesus. Why should they believe him? Any individual could make bold claims. The Jews had well-established practices about testimony, and they relied on their principle of two voices being authoritative when verified. Today’s first reading from Deuteronomy 13, about the imperiled Susannah seemingly trapped by false testimony, should have been familiar to the Pharisees from their studies. They conveniently forgot that it isn’t so important how many testify on one’s behalf. Instead, the key is whether the source (or sources) of testimony possess integrity, which can be defined as “being whole or undivided.” Jesus taught them that day, and teaches us today, that he is one with the Father. When we consider the blessed Trinity, do we let this perfect model of integrity move us to glorify Our Lord? “Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal” (CCC 266).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I am sorry for often hiding in the shadows, fearful of coming into your light. I should know from your frequent offering of mercy to me, and the many blessings that I have, that it is your will that I be filled with joy. Let me ponder anew the words you spoke to your disciples on the night before you died: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will slowly and confidently pray Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd….”
For Further Reflection: Read the sections in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that explain the dogma of the Holy Trinity (CCC 253-256).
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