John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
As we move closer to Holy Week tension begins to mount in our Gospel readings. Today this tension is mirrored in the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom and the Psalm. The text from the Book of Wisdom lays out for us a familiar dynamic where virtue and goodness can be experienced as a threat and judgment:
‘Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking,
the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;
his way of life is not like other men’s,
the paths he treads are unfamiliar.’
There’s a grim truth to be acknowledged that human beings can sometimes want to bring down the good rather than learn from them.
In the Gospel Jesus is portrayed as the archetypal ‘virtuous man’. He is sent by the Father and nothing can shake his internal conviction of the path he must follow. The strength of his conviction angers those who oppose him. It can be hard for us to think ourselves into the position of those who oppose Christ. We like to think that we would never be party to this.
Perhaps for us the dynamic is more subtle. Lent invites us to examine our hearts and our motivations and to seek God’s mercy.
Have we blocked the path that others were following? Have we subtly made it difficult for others to succeed?