Scripture: 1st Reading: Wis2,1,12-22; Resp. Psalm: Ps34,17-21,23; Gosp. Accl.: Mt4,4; Gospel: Jn7,1-2,10,25-30
A sign of contradiction. A sign that is spoken against. A sentinel that warns about oncoming danger. A testimony that gives the message of warning. A person whose life reflects what they believe, whose actions demonstrate what goes on within the deepest recesses of the heart and soul. One who has espoused the truth and will defend it in all circumstances of life.
This is the description of a righteous person. The road to righteousness may oftentimes be very narrow and lonely to travel on. It may expose one to great dangers, especially if the surrounding culture is permeated by values that are debased, immoral and contrary. The book of wisdom today describes the travails of any one who wishes to travel this narrow but sure road that leads to the blessedness of God.
Ungodly men will rise against the person. They would plot to silence him because his life is "unconventional". He is a reproof to their thoughts, his manner of life unlike that of others, his ways are considered strange. The unjust plot against the just and righteous to test what will happen at the end of his life, to see if God would deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. They plan to test him with insult and torture to see how gentle he is and condemn him to a shameful death to see who will protect him.
The words of the book of Wisdom in today's first reading foretold what would happen to our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the beginnings of that plotting is reported in today's gospel. Our Lord was not longer going to Judea because He knew they sought to kill Him. He was no longer going publicly to Jerusalem but privately, like any ordinary person. But in spite of this, He was still doing His mission, preaching the word and bringing people back to His Father.
In spite of the danger to His person, our Lord still taught in the temple. There He proclaimed publicly: "You know me, and you know where I come from; but I have not come of my own accord; He who sent me is true, and Him you do not know. I know Him, for I come from Him, and He sent me." Of course, after hearing these words that went straight to their consciences, they were infuriated and sought to arrest Him but could not lay hands on Him because His hour had not yet come.
The holiness and righteousness road is very lonely. It is very, very lonely. Our Lord trod on that road. This Lenten season, He invites us to journey with Him on that road. He invites us to realize that He is by our side. He tells us not to be afraid, that He will never abandon us. Are we ready even now, to listen to Him? Are we ready to follow Him where He leads us? Do we trust Him enough to join our hands to His and let Him show the way?
Let us pray: "O God, who have prepared fitting helps for us in our weakness, grant, we pray, that we may receive their healing effects with joy, and reflect them in a holy way of life." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.