Wednesday morning’s book group on the interisland ferry was lively; there was much participation and many thoughtful ideas expressed. And, of course, as a group we took the opportunity to respond to the bishops’ pleas for prayer during this interregnum period, so full of responsibility and anticipation.
Our assignment from now until April 3 is to read and reread St.John’s Gospel, chapters 7 and 8. As we enter chapter 7 we are thrown into the midst of a crowded Holy City, not unlike what is happening, crowdwise, in Rome at the moment. The Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem has its foundation in Leviticus 23:33-43 and Deuteronomy 16:13-16. It would be worthwhile reading these two passages, keeping in mind that the latter Scripture was written somewhat later than the first, and so has a few important words of exhortation added to it. It is reminiscent of the significant additions we are finding in John’s Gospel, in relation to the previous three Gospels.
In verses 3-5, we notice again the attitude of some of Jesus’ family members, and hear just what Jesus has to say to them at this point. In verse 7, notice how relevant the situation which Jesus confronts is to what we encounter today, even when we are not condemning individuals in our society, but simply speaking about social and moral behavior: “…because I testify that its works are evil….” (It is encouraging, isn’t it, to read Acts 1:14, when we pray for some of our own extended family members and friends?)
Think about the question in verse 11, “Where is He?” How can this apply to our communities today?
Notice how Jesus, in verses 16-18 and then again in verses 21-24, is appealing to the human mind and heart’s ability to reason, to ponder, to understand. How does He today make this same appeal through His Church?
In the midst of much private “muttering” among the people, Jesus openly proclaims in the Temple His relationship to and with the One God in which they all profess to believe. As St.John will make clearer and clearer, Jesus was able to say much, despite the authorities’ desire to quiet Him, “because His hour had not yet come,” (v.30). Does this give you confidence in the Lord’s perfect timing in our own day, and in your own life?
Perhaps by the time I write next Friday’s blog, we will have heard proclaimed, “Habemus Papam!” Shalom, JC