“I have given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land. ”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 49:8-15)
Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favour I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages; saying to the prisoners, ‘Come forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways, on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. And I will make all my mountains away, and my highways shall be raised up. Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.” Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted. But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?” Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18 (R. 8a)
R/. The Lord is kind and full of compassion
The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in mercy.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures. R/.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
And holy in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall,
and raises up all who are bowed down. R/.
R/. The Lord is kind and full of compassion.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
And holy in all his deeds.
The Lord is close to all who call him,
Who call on him in truth. R/.
Gospel Acclamation John 11:25a.26
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; he who believes in me shall never die. Glory and praise to you, O Christ
“As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 5:17-30)
At that time: Jesus answered the Jews, “My Father is working still, and I am working.” This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgement. “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
The Gospel of the Lord
In seeking to kill Jesus, the Jews felt they were doing something right. In their eyes, Jesus was a law breaker, a man who had no respect for God’s day of rest, an ordinary man who insulted God by daring to say God is his Father and implying that he himself is God. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the Jews at the time of Jesus. Imagine a friend of yours within your age range who grew up with you in the same neighbourhood all of sudden shows up in the Cathedral one morning and starts claiming to be God. What would be your reaction?
In all honesty, you would do everything you can to convince yourself that he is just a man; that you must be out of your senses to assume that he is God.
And as if that is not enough, this person begins to preach that it is wrong for people to go to Church on Sunday and many start listening to him. Being a priest, I would consider this a personal attack on my source of sustenance. Without Sundays, I would simply be irrelevant. For attempting to even toil with my “day”, I would be just as mad as a trader whose shop in a busy market is about to brought down. I would fight back!
So you see! If Jesus should come back again, he would surely be killed a second time; so long as there are normal human beings like me in this world who like to hold on strongly to opinions about who God is and how he is to be worshipped. The Jews were convinced that the death of Jesus was justice served; they were sure they were doing honour to God. They never asked themselves: “What if I am wrong?” But in the end, history proved them wrong.
Now, where does all these lead to? My dear friends, if history proved these zealous Jews wrong, how sure am I that the views I hold right now are true? What makes me convinced that even those opinions I am passionate about are correct? Before I “kill” again, I must learn from history; before I shout “crucify him” against someone who does not hold my opinion, I think it would be wise to first ask myself: “what if I am wrong?”
Don’t be too quick to destroy or bring people down simply because you don’t agree with them. They killed Jesus because they saw him as an obstruction against all the prophesies of old not knowing that even the very act of killing him was part of the fulfilment of the same prophesies. In their disbelief and ignorance, they helped to prove to the world that Jesus is really God. You see, no one can fight the truth!
Be humble. Stop arguing. You may not be right. You cannot be right always. Listen to others. There may be something to learn even from your greatest critiques.