Friday of the 5th Week of Lent
Feast of the Dedication
After a homily is delivered during Sunday’s Eucharistic celebration and other great feasts and solemnities, usually we recite the Apostles’ Creed instead of the Nicene Creed. But if we recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, we profess that Jesus Christ is: “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in Being with the Father.” By saying this part we are professing the unity of nature between God the Father and God the Son. That to be the true son is to be of the same nature as the progenitor; to be true Son of God is the same as to be God.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus modestly calls His miracles “works” which alleviate human misery. Since His works alleviate, then His enemies should understand that they therefore come from God and He is the only-begotten Son of God. And because of this claim the religious leaders are so upset with Him that they want to kill Him for claiming to be the Son of God. This is blasphemous. Actually Jesus claims two things that upset the religious leaders: He was consecrated by the Father to a special task and He was sent into the world to carry out His Father’s mission. Actually Jesus challenges His opponents to accept His works if they cannot accept His words. We can argue with His words, even if God’s word is life and power to those who believe, but we cannot argue with His deeds. It is beyond argument. Indeed we can see in Jesus the truth that “actions speak louder than words.” Jesus is really a perfect teacher too to all of us because His claim is not only based on what He says but on what He does. Are we doers of God’s word or a forgetful hearers only?
As the gospel reports that the religious leaders charge Him of blasphemy because for them, Jesus is only a man, making Himself God. You know, this is our common tendency to accuse others of a sin for which we ourselves are guilty of doing it. After the fall of Adam and Eve, man tends to place his life at the center of the universe and so the effect, he considers himself God. It is even written in the Jewish law that they are gods and so therefore they consider themselves as gods. What happen now is that the world is no longer revolved around God but it revolves around each one of us. And so its consequences are: strife, war and division that plague human society and human history. We have the tendency to provide the incense, the altar and the libations to be offered to our cult of self. And yet in Jesus, the true God and true man, ask us to recognize His authority and offer Him due homage, has different attitude: “I have come not to be served, but to serve; the Son of Man has come to lay down His life so that others might have life.”
To end, I would like to share this true story to you. Robert P. Dugan, Jr. in his Winning the New Civil War (p.183) told this true story and the date was May 19, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. For at noon the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced them and said these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.”
Are you a person who needs to speak less and do more?