5th SUN LENT – Hurt people hurt people…

PhariseesThe “other part of the story” that came to light for me about the raising of Lazarus (while studying to preach) was opened up by the insightful commentary on the gospel of John, “Life Abounding,” by Brendan Byrne, SJ.  It’s about the Pharisees.

The gospel on Sunday ended with verse 45, which in fact, is a half sentence:  “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him.”  Happy ending, right?  Here’s what we didn’t hear, beginning with verse 46 through 53:

…but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.  If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” 

But one of them, Ca′iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”  He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.  So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.

Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, became ‘collateral damage’ for raising Lazarus.  After this, all events move toward I AM being glorified in Jesus on the cross.

We can direct our ire toward the Pharisees, chief priests, and the council, but that’s missing the point.  Hurt people hurt people.  Ca’iaphas spoke for them all in order to secure and maintain their privileged place of power & sovereignty.  Our anger at them helps us avoid seeing our own lives clearly.

I ask these gently:  What wounds drove them to plot Jesus’ death?  What wounds drive you and me to make others pay the price for our (illusory) demands to maintain sovereignty over everyone and everything?  What fear, hurt, emptiness in you and me make others pay the price for unwillingness to deal with these?

Perhaps we can learn to bring it all to the Light.  –roc,sj

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