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Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Bringing everything into focus

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Readings: Daniel 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95; Daniel 3: 52-56; John 8: 31-42

Just because we are called Christians, that doesn’t mean we’re perfect at it (clearly) and it doesn’t even mean we know exactly what being a Christian really means or will really involve. So much of our approach to the world and the circumstances of our life is shaped by the culture in which we grew up, a culture which, while containing some Christian elements, could certainly no longer be called Christian. And indeed, even if it were, that would be no guarantee that we would see everything exactly as we should.

In respect of this, we should pay attention to who it is Jesus is speaking to in today’s Gospel: judging from his tone, we might fail to notice that he is talking to ‘the Jews who had believed in him’ (Jn 8: 31). First of all they are Jews, members of that people who had been specially prepared to receive the Messiah, and whose culture and upbringing we might therefore expect to dispose them to see things in the right perspective. Besides that, though, we are told that they had already believed in Jesus: they have a personal commitment to his teaching too.

Even so, they don’t get what Jesus has to say: in fact, their understanding of their membership of the chosen people confuses them, making it difficult for them to grasp that they are nevertheless enslaved to sin and need to be released.

This encounter of Jesus’ is relevant to us today too: we must always beware of our attitudes and prejudices, and ask ourselves whether we really approach the world and our engagement with it in a Christian way. As we prepare in these final weeks of Lent to commemorate our Lord’s Passion, the Church guides us to see that, ultimately, it is only in relation to the Cross that everything else comes into its proper focus.

Gregory Pearson OP


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