USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done.
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do?
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.
So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.
Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”
Good News Reflection:
In a meditation given to Pope John Paul II on March 15, 2002, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa described what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus’ dark night of the soul.
Perhaps the dark night of Jesus’ soul began in the Gospel reading that we use on the final day before Holy Week, that is, the moment he could no longer walk around in public. How difficult and sad that must have been for him! His hands were already being tied and his feet were being shackled, in a sense, because he was no longer free to minister to everyone or to reach out to and offer healing and salvation to those who needed it most.
Have you ever been constrained from doing good for others? How did you feel about it? Did your soul cry out from a deep love for those you could not reach?
The hatred and fear that many people felt toward Jesus and the resulting persecutions reached a climactic intensity when the chief priests and Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and asked, “What are we going to do?”
Has anyone wondered what they could do to stop you from continuing your calling, your God-given dream, your ministry?
Think about Palm Sunday. The whole of Holy Week is wrapped inside this special feast day, which is why it’s also called Passion Sunday. This is a week like no other week, and now is the time to ready ourselves to enter into it in such a way that we are transformed by it.
By next Saturday, we should be different than we are today: Our lives, or our relationship with Jesus, or the wounds in our hearts should somehow be changed between now and then. To live this week as if everything is normal, as if it’s just another week at work or just another ordinary schedule, is to waste a very precious gift.
Unite your sufferings to the Passion of Christ. Allow yourself to experience Christ’s passionate love for you more than you normally do.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica