We listen as different witnesses take the stand in today’s gospel ( John 5, 31-47) to testify for Jesus.. John the Baptist, “a burning and shining lamp” speaks for him. Miracles and works of healing Jesus performed testify for him. Above all, his heavenly Father, who through an interior call draws to his son those unhindered by pride, speaks for him. Then, the scriptures, long searched by the Jews as the way to eternal life, “testify on my behalf.”
These are ways faith in Jesus comes to us now. Do we accept them? The church, like John the Baptist, points Jesus Christ out to us; are we guided by its light? His works and words and miracles are proclaimed in the scriptures; do we search into them? Our heavenly Father draws us to his son; do we pray for faith and humility to accept his grace?
We’re reminded by scholars that “the Jews” spoken of in these pas- sages of John’s Gospel are not the whole Jewish nation but those who opposed Jesus because pride and position turned them against him. Ever since, people still oppose him. In lent, the voice of the Father says once more: “listen to him.”
Mystics like Paul of the Cross knew that faith is a gift of God; we don’t get it by reason alone. It’s God’s gift. He recommended prayer, steady prayer, as a means to gain, to nourish and strengthen faith.
“Someone who left his community once wrote to Fr. Paul and signed the letter pretentiously , Archpriest, Lawyer, Theologian. Answering his letter, Fr. Paul signed himself, N.N.N., which means Paul of the Cross, who is nothing, who knows nothing, can do nothing, desires nothing in this world but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. This was his wisdom: to see with eyes of faith his own nothingness and to allow God who works within us to be born there.” (Life of Blessed Paul of the Cross, by St. Vincent Strambi, Chapter 35)
I come to you
who have given so much to me. You know “my inmost being” and “all my thoughts from afar.” I want to listen to you
and be changed by what I hear. Amen.