Power in the Word
April 8, 2022 (readings)
- Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
- Marybeth Harper
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.
Opening Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to quietly reflect on your word. Increase my faith as I contemplate your awesome miracles. Increase my hope in your almighty power. Increase my love as I say with confidence, “...everything John said about this man was true.”
Scripture Can’t Be Set Aside: Jesus quoted Scripture to fight Satan during the temptations in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11) and here used a verse from Psalm 82:6 (I declare: “Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you…”) to make his point to the crowd. Jesus was reinforcing for us that holy Scripture is the word of God and that “until Heaven and Earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law…” (Matthew 5:18). It is our responsibility as Catholic Christians to know what the Scripture teaches. As St. Jerome famously said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Believe the Works: Jesus entreated the people to believe in him, at the very least because of the works he accomplished in the name of the Father. What more miraculous, more mind-blowing, more nature-defying works did Jesus do in his healings and his raising of Lazarus from the dead? And his own death and resurrection for the salvation of mankind? Surely his works spoke of the grandeur, majesty, and pure love of the Father. May we consider Christ’s miracles with fresh eyes and renew our astonishment at the works he did for the glory of his Father, so that we may be drawn more deeply to faith.
He Escaped: In several Gospel passages, we are told that Jesus defied angry crowds and walked away unscathed, miraculously disappeared, or “escaped from their power.” No matter how dangerously violent the crowds became, Jesus was in control of his circumstances. Our Lord has always been and will always be omnipotent. “Of all the divine attributes, only God's omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything” (CCC 268).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, your word is powerful in my life. You often speak to me through the Scriptures, and for this I am grateful. Help me to see the familiar stories in ways that inspire me to conform to your will.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace may I spend a bit of extra time reading your word, trusting that you speak to me in this way.
For Further Reflection: CCC 274: “Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God's almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe— even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature.”
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