1st April 2022 – Friday of Week 4 of Lent
(1) Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Malice against the good foreshadows the Passion of Jesus
Foolish people reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, “Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end, and no one has been known to return from Hades. Let us then lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.
“He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.
“Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. Let us test him with insult and torture, so that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”
Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls;
Responsorial: from Psalm 34
R./: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
The Lord confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them. (R./)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just person,
but out of them all the Lord delivers him. (R./)
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
The Lord redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him. (R./)
Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus goes up to Jerusalem privately; the crowds wonder about him
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (For not even his brothers believed in him.) Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
Near to those in trouble
The upright person (first reading) persecuted and tested by malicious enemies, provoked this opposition by claiming to be a child of God, a claim they angrily dispute. Jesus suffered a similar kind of rejection. When his own relatives think they have all the facts about him, he answered, “I was sent by One whom . . . you do not know. I know him because it is from him I come.” While the Just One in the Book of Wisdom is humiliated and oppressed, no one yet laid a finger on Jesus, because his hour had not yet come. This points forward to John’s account of the Last Supper and the Passion, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (Jn 13:1) And during the Supper he promised them, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (Jn 14:18)
As the response to the Psalm we repeated this mantra: “The Lord is near to broken hearts.” Broken hearts are painful and lonely, but they also enable us to reach even more deeply into our roots, where God is very near with the loving providence of his mysterious clasp. Our God is close to those in trouble; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but from them all the Lord will save him.
Knowing who Jesus really is
By the phrase “the Jews,” John nearly always means the Jewish religious leaders. His gospel tends to distinguish between the Jewish religious leaders and the people as a whole . It is not said that the Jewish people were out to kill him. That was what the leaders wanted; but the people also disparage Jesus when they say, “we all know where he comes from.” They were saying, in effect, “we know that he comes from Nazareth, a little village in the hills.” In reply, Jesus declares that he really comes from God, the Almighty One who sent him. To know that Jesus came from Nazareth falls far short of knowing who he really is. It is generally the case in John’s gospel that those who say “we know” don’t really know. The evangelist reminds us that there is always more to Jesus than we realize. When it comes to the Lord, we are always on a journey of discovery. What really matters is to keep travelling that journey, to keep striving to know him more fully.