A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.
He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.
Good News Reflection:
Why do you have faith in Jesus? Early in his ministry, Jesus said: “By their fruits you will know them” (see Matt. 7:16-20). As he drew near to Calvary, he said, “By the fruits of my ministry you will know me” (today’s Gospel passage). People won’t put their faith in something that doesn’t produce good fruits, or in other words, doesn’t seem valuable.
Consider those around you who don’t believe in Jesus or who don’t go to church — they have not yet discovered the value of having an active faith life.
What value do you see in Jesus? In the Eucharist? Many people are Catholics only because their parents were Catholic. All church-goers have their reasons for claiming to be Christian, but if it’s not changing their lives into the image of Christ, something’s missing. They are not living in faith. Even though they go to Mass, they haven’t discovered the value of receiving the Eucharist and uniting themselves to the Body of Christ.
Our faith is often tested in order to expose whether or not we truly believe in Jesus and want to be like him. The test happens when we’re persecuted for our faith or when God seems to let us down. In the face of adversity or when God doesn’t make sense, why do we cling to our relationships with Jesus? When representatives of the Church do scandalous evils or when church is made boring and uninvolving, why do we continue to celebrate the Catholic faith?
Your answer reveals the value of your faith. That’s your testimony! This is what will help non-believers discover the fruits that prove that Jesus is real and that he’s a good and loving God.
Our faith grows when we examine why we follow Jesus. What are the fruits in your life that are evidence of his love for you? What signs of his goodness have you seen? In the midst of trials that threaten the stability of your faith, by recalling these fruits, you will strengthen your trust in God and lead others to him. This spiritual exercise puts our eyes back on Jesus instead of on the problems that obscure our view of him.
Do the people around you ask you to pray for them? Do they seek you out because they know that you care? Do they enjoy your visits? Do they seek your advice? Why are they putting their faith in you? It’s because of the fruits of your faith that they see in your life! They’ve noticed that your faith helps you deal with problems. Your example sheds the light of Christ onto their difficult situations; it makes them wonder if they can experience the same inner peace.
When their need becomes greater than their pride, they will seek your spiritual help. However, it’s not you they’re putting their faith in. It’s the Jesus in you.
A true evangelist is not one who’s an expert in apologetics and Church doctrine, but one whose faith is based on real life experiences and who enjoys relating it to the needs of others.