“The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience. ..”

Once again, as Simeon had predicted, Jesus is a sign of contradiction presented with the miracle of the raising of Lazarus; some people believe in Jesus, and some denounce Him to His enemies –confirming what is said in the parable of the rich man: “neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead”.
The fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction is nowhere more evident than in John’s gospel, especially in the scene of today’s Gospel. There can hardly be any clearer example of the madness in the heart of sinners, or of their desperate enmity towards God, than what is recorded here.

It is a fact of life that, whenever people seek to escape calamity by committing sin, they end up bringing calamity down upon their own heads. Goodness always wins out in the end; and the madness of the wicked always comes back to haunt them. That is exactly what happened with the Pharisees after the suffering and death of Jesus.
We may be horrified that anyone would go to such limits to silence someone, who has pointed out faults or who has called them to repentance; but the truth is that sometimes we also avoid confrontation with the truth. It may be that we go to great lengths to avoid feeling the pangs of conscience.
Remember,supported by their faith in Jesus and displaying like courage in the face of their adversaries, Christians across the ages have witnessed to the Good News, even to the shedding of their blood. They died not simply of something, as we all do, but for something. As we approach the end of Lent and are about to enter into Holy Week, we might well ask ourselves whether, if we were charged with being a Christian, there would be compelling evidence to convict us. We should now renew our repentance and allow ourselves to feel the anguish that Jesus felt in knowing what pain lay ahead of Him in the manner of His passion and death.

Despite such act, Jesus reminds us again that, that cross He accepts and carries to save us and bring us back again to life. On the positive sense of the Caiaphas prophesy, Jesus let Himself be crucified to fulfill the will of the Father. Through the death of Jesus on the cross, all the people will be gathered again as one nation of God. Jesus embraced His passion and death that in the end, we will be worthy again of heaven through His resurrection. We, being scattered by sin, will be united again to the Father as we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. Augustine wrote: “The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience. ..He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself? Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.”


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