Friday, April 8, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, April 7, 2011 (Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Thursday, April 7, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

Today's Gospel is the account of Jesus defending himself before the scribes and the Pharisees. Now, John's Gospel says "Jesus said to the Jews," but this is not all the Jews because some of the Jewish people believed and followed Jesus; the first followers were all Jewish people. But the leadership, the scribes and the Pharisees, those who were in positions of power and influence, they tried constantly to discredit Jesus and to prove him wrong.

When someone has decided that they won't see something, nothing you can do will convince them. Jesus is trying to convince the scribes and the Pharisees that he is the messiah. But their minds and their eyes and their ears shut down and close. The old saying goes, "There's none so blind as the one who will not see." Well, the scribes and the Pharisees had their minds made up about Jesus, and they were determined not to see who he was. They were determined that he was not the messiah, and on that issue, their minds were closed.

And so today's Gospel is Jesus, his defense, his pointing out to them. He simply recited the evidence that was right in front of them, and yet, they still don't get it. He included the testimony and the witness of John the Baptist, the works that Jesus had done, the miracles that he had performed, the healings that had happened, the testimony of the father, and the witness of the scripture. All this accumulated evidence, and yet they were unable, unconvinced, the scribes and the Pharisees. What would it have taken to convince them?

Now to that long list of things, we can add the New Testament. You and I have the New Testament that was written after Jesus' death and resurrection. And on top of the New Testament, we have over 2,000 years of Christian history. Most of us would say that's great evidence, strong enough to convince me; I'm convinced. I believe; we believe him. But do we really? Do we really believe in his way of love, strong enough to put it into practice? Can I turn the other cheek? Do I always repay evil with good? Do I go out and befriend those who are unpopular or lonely? Do I forgive? Do I go the second mile, being generous in my response to other people's needs? And when I don't do these things, do I really believe in Jesus' forgiveness? If so, when was the last time I went to confession?

These are questions that should concern us because, if we say we are convinced, does that conviction make any difference in the way I'm living my life. Are we really convinced that he is the way? If not, how much evidence do we need?

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