Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday word, 23 Mar 2007

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
The Hour

4 Lenten Friday (23 Mar 2007) Wis 2. 1a,12-22; Ps 34; Jn 7. 1-2,10,25-30
From very early the Fouth Gospel was the one given pride of place in Lent and Easter. No other gospel-portrait of Jesus reflects on the community’s experience of his resurrection and his identity. In fact, the person of Jesus and the work of Jesus cannot be separated: Jesus lived to do the work of the One who sent him, an expression we have already heard Wednesday, today, and one we will hear again next week.

The readings this week and next week from John’s gospel are continuous: sections within a chapter are read over several days before moving to the next chapter. Chapters 7 and 8 comprise the gospel readings from today into next week. I want to suggest how to listen to these gospels readings.

First, remember that they are continuous: much of chapter 7 will preceded much of chapter 8. Both chapters together form a unit. It is structured as a dialog between Jesus and leaders of the Jews, yet it has the feel of an interrogation or a courtroom cross-examination.

Opposition was constant but at low levels at first. Chapter 7 opens and lets us know that an opposition was now furious: the [leaders] of the Jews were trying to kill Jesus. The reason had to do with Jesus’ self-identification with God and the saving work of God.

Second, be alert to who is cross-examining whom. While the leaders of the Jews--those few Jews who found Jesus a threat to them, to their power and to their self-understanding (they had hardened their hearts to God)--assailed Jesus with their questions and venomous remarks, often Jesus cross-examines them!

Last, pay attention to the hour--Jesus’ hour had not yet come. The gospel never explains to its hearers the content of the hour beforehand. Allow yourself to stand by Jesus, hear his voice and wonder about his hour, and above all, see yourself and how you share Jesus’ hour.
Wiki photo entitled in English, "Annual Honesty"; copyright held by photographer Christophe Moustier

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