HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT.
THEME: They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them.
BY: Rev Fr Deotacious Chikontwe, SMA.
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
*FROM OUR GOSPEL READING*
Dear friends in Christ, as we draw near to Holy Week, which is next week, the gospel readings highlight the growing hostility to Jesus. At the beginning of today’s gospel reading, Jesus’ opponents fetch stones to stone him. At the end of the reading, they want to arrest him. Jesus seems perplexed at their hostility, ‘I have done many good works for you to see… for which of these are you stoning me?’ Violence can often be mindless and irrational, as we know only too well. On this occasion, Jesus was able to allude those who would do him harm. However, the time would come when he would be unable to allude them. They would have him arrested and put to death. In spite of the many good works Jesus did, he was put to death.
*FROM OUR FIRST READING*
In the first reading, Jeremiah speaks out of a similar experience to Jesus. He did God’s work, he proclaimed God’s word, and, for that, he was denounced by people who wanted to bring about his downfall. Jeremiah’s reaction to this undeserved hostility from his opponents was a very human one. He prays to God in that reading, ‘Let me see the vengeance you will take on them’.
We could never imagine such a prayer on the lips of Jesus. Rather, Jesus revealed God’s love even to his enemies. He washed the feet of his betrayer, Judas. He prayed for his executioners, asking God to forgive them. Jesus’ passion and death, even more than his life, revealed a love that was constant even in the face of hostility and rejection. Jesus’ passion and death reveals God’s love for all humanity, a quality of love which is very different to any human love. That is why the Friday on which Jesus’ passion and death is remembered is called Good Friday, and why the story of Jesus’ passion and death is part of the larger gospel story. It is gospel, good news, for us all.
*LET US PRAY*
Christ: Dear Jesus, our human pride can make us so arrogant. We can doubt and question and challenge you, and even disrespect your name. Jesus, please soften my heart, enlighten my mind, and rid me of pride. I want to know you and love you and serve you, all the days of my life. Amen
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