Malvern Minute – Thursday
Malvern Minute

 

April 6, 2017 – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to John (8:51-59)

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?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’

You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
 

Reflect: Whoever keeps my word will never see death. These words of Jesus, though full of promise and hope, confounded and infuriated his audience. We are reminded in the first reading from the Book of Genesis (chapter 17) about God’s covenant with Abraham. Grand promises are made to Abraham by God: “for I am making you the father of a host of nations.” In turn, God asks that Abraham and his descendants honor him as the one true God. Jesus extends the covenant and offers everlasting life to anyone who keeps the word of God alive in one’s heart and mind. The people in today’s gospel are bent out of shape because they believe that Jesus is speaking without authority. In fact, they think that he is possessed by a demon or out of his mind. The promise of everlasting life is made to each of us at our baptism. As we grow in faith and we learn more about the word of God, Jesus asks that we live and act on that word; that it might truly guide and direct our lives – so that we will never see death.

Questions: As I learn more about Jesus and the word of God, do I find myself thinking that he is out of his mind by what he asks of me? How might I make Jesus and his life-giving word a more significant part of my everyday life? Is there something in the scripture readings of these final days of Lent that I can take, meditate upon and use as a guide for my life?

Pray: Loving God, look kindly upon me as I place my hope in your mercy and love. Instill in me a desire to leave sin behind and to persevere in living the life that you want for your followers.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

God did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for us all; with him, he has given us all things.

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