Gospel Jn 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, "This is truly the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But others said, "The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?" So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?" The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man." So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed." Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, "Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?" They answered and said to him, "You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee." Then each went to his own house.
Have you ever sat at home in your backyard toasting marshmallows over an open fire? It can be a soothing activity to watch the flames soften and brown your delicious treat. The fire flames flick around your confection as you strategically sit, down-wind from the smoke, until the wind changes and sends smoke into your eyes. The overwhelming burning in your eyes blinds you and propels you to quickly find another spot to sit. The evil one is just like the smoke. He hovers over your fun and changes the wind direction, which sends you pain and causes you to move on in confusion. The evil one causes suffering and division.
There seems to be great conflict and misinformation among the people in the Gospel, just like society of today. The guards are amazed at the words spoken by Jesus, the Pharisees are trying their best to follow the law and disregards anyone not agreeing with them. Nicodemus is searching for truth and fairness. Do these views sound familiar with your family, friends, or co-workers? Misinformation and misunderstandings cause great division in the Church, leading us to go to our own house and remain at peace with ourselves. But is this what Jesus wants for us?
Jesus spoke to the heart. This is why the guards were so taken by what he said. He moved their hearts to dwell in goodness and love. Jesus doesn’t change with the wind or cause blindness, as smoke will do. However, the smoke of the evil one has penetrated our lives and causes the suffering. When we experience blindness and division, we should pray to remain in the Word of God, keeping the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the center of our lives. You have heard the old saying, “home is where the heart is”. Let us spend our time in the Lord’s house, the home of his Sacred heart.
Let us pray for priests to be humble and to guide their flocks out of the confusion and misunderstandings of this world.