Another meditation from Leo on today's Gospel passage
Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.
Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
The Word of the Lord.
In our gospel reading for today, Jesus tells the people in Jerusalem that they indeed know him, yet they do not really know him because they don’t know the one who sent him. Isn’t that the way for us at times. We think we know Jesus; we think we know God, but then…
My brother-in-law, a pastor of a parish in New York City that prepares food for homeless people every morning, told us that one day a man approached him and asked him for something to eat; he said that he had not been able to get to the church earlier that day. My brother-in-law said that he went into his rectory and told one of the parish staff that Jesus was outside, asking for something to eat. This hungry man was indeed Jesus for the people of my brother-in-law’s parish that day.
Jesus may not have been thinking about this image when he spoke in Jerusalem so many years ago; we see something closer to this image when Jesus tells the parable of the Final Judgment (Matthew 25). But the image still is an important one, as it tells us that Jesus is known, as is his Father, in the people and events around us...we have to look and recognize him. Jesus, sent by his Father, became one of us, living and dying in our world. He showed us who God is and he showed us that God is willing to suffer and die for us. This is the mystery of the Incarnation that we celebrate at Christmas and the Paschal Mystery that we remember in a couple of weeks. It’s also the mystery that we experience every day as we seek to be aware of God’s presence and to recognize Jesus in both the suffering and the acts of kindness in our world.
Here’s a recording of Jesus, the Lord by Roc O’Connor, SJ, one of the original St. Louis Jesuits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7uJ-gWcif0
Only the second of the song’s three verses is sung in this recording. The full text of the song appears below.
Jesus. Jesus. Let all creation bend the knee to the Lord.
1. In him we live, we move and have our being; in him the Christ, in Him the king! Jesus, the Lord. 2. Though Son, he did not cling to godliness, but emptied himself, became a slave! Jesus, the Lord. 3. He lived obediently his Father's will accepting his death, death on a tree! Jesus, the Lord.