Fr. Mike’s homily for Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent
Theme: Proclaim the good news
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Saturday March 20 2021
Some in the crowd who heard these words said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But others said, “The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not scripture say that the Messiah 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 one.” 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 person 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.”
The Gospel today is a continuation of yesterday’s story. The people were confused about the identity of Jesus. The Jewish leaders sent the temple guards to apprehend Jesus. When they returned, they were questioned by their superiors, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this one.”
Perhaps those guards were also curious about Jesus. We may surmise that while waiting for a moment to apprehend the Lord, they mingled with the crowd for some time. They saw and heard the Lord personally, and were filled with wonder at seeing His person and hearing His teachings. And they concluded with their observation: “Never before has anyone spoken like this one.”
Though a candid and innocent comment, it hits the sensitive nerves of the Pharisees and scribes, the official teachers of Israel. This statement echoes the account of the Synoptic Gospels: “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes” (Mk 1:22, Mt 7:28-28). Another English Translation, The Message (MSG), puts it more eloquently: “They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.”
That Jesus taught with authority should not come as a surprise for those who have come to know that Jesus is the Eternal Word Incarnate. Being such, He speaks from His own authority, and not from anyone else. But added to this, His words have inner power because He ‘walks the talk’, so to say. His words are accompanied by action that makes them credible and cogent.
The Gospel lesson today should lead us to examine ourselves. As Christians, clergy and laity alike, we are all called to be proclaimers of the Gospel – with authority. At times we feel inadequate and uneasy in fulfilling this mission because, admittedly, we are not truly faithful to what we preach.
St. Gregory the Great gives us this reminder: “We Christians must show people what really following Jesus means. The man who has the mission of saying great things (and all of us as Christians have this sweet obligation) is equally obliged to practice them.”
The following words from Pope St. John Paul II serve as a fitting conclusion: “We need heralds of the Gospel who are experts in humanity, who know the depths of the heart of man today, who share in his hopes and joys, his worries and his sadness, and at the same time are contemplatives, in love with God. For this, new saints are needed. The great evangelizers of Europe have been the saints. We must implore God to increase the spirit of holiness in the Church and to send us new saints to evangelize today’s world.” (Oct 11, 1985).
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches