In today’s readings, we have a repeat of what seems to be a recurring encounter between Jesus and the religious leadership of the day – a lack of understanding of Jesus’ words and meaning
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” (John 8:51-53)
Yesterday’s readings showed more of the same as did the readings of the day before. There is so much that can be said and commented upon. But I think Pope Francis says it succinctly:
“This is precisely what these doctors of the law did not understand. They did not understand the joy of the promise; they didn’t understand the joy of hope; they didn’t understand the joy of the covenant. They did not understand. And they didn’t know how to rejoice, for they had lost the sense of joy that only comes from faith. However, our father Abraham was able to rejoice because he had faith; he had been made righteous in faith. Meanwhile the doctors of the law had lost the faith: they were doctors of the law, but without faith!. Moreover: they had lost the law! Because the center of law is love, love for God and for neighbor”. (Pope Francis, Santa Maria, March 26, 2020)
In these days of “safer at home” in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, center your life in the joy of the promises of Christ and the joy of hope – even in days that might seem joyless and hope seems distant. Remember that we are children of the Covenant, sealed in our baptism. Remember that our lives are to be lived in love of God and neighbor. Even in these days, live and love – rejoice, I say again, rejoice for the Lord is near.