Today's Gospel: John 12:44-50
Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Jesus declares His unity with the Father in Heaven in today’s Gospel, boldly proclaiming to those who believe in Him that they must also believe in God the Father. He speaks of light and His words of condemnation and judgment. Ultimately the message is about His desire for us to discover in and through a Trinitarian God the path to Eternal Life.
The words He spoke thus are reminiscent of His Divine Mercy: “And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.” We often condemn ourselves and others rather harshly; we judge ourselves based on a societal standard that no one can possibly maintain, and yet Jesus is telling us that there is room for mercy, for His Mercy, because He recognizes our frailties, our fragments, and our inability to see ourselves honestly and clearly.
There is great hope in this message, to those of us who feel battered by life, overwhelmed and at the end of our ropes, clinging to any iota of strength we may read or hear in Scripture, though even Scripture can appear critical and cruel. At times we are left with little to grasp and much for which to strive, which leaves us feeling depleted and defeated.
Today Jesus reminds us that He is the light who was born so that we might not remain in darkness, that He came not to condemn but to save. It is a statement of gentle profundity that refreshes our weariness and restores spiritual exuberance in our lives. We are reminded today that His Mercy outweighs our sinfulness, that He waits for us to abandon ourselves at His feet, to join our wounds with His Sacred Wounds, and to await His abundance only when we reach the point of emptiness of self.
Today we recall that self-preservation is null and void, but rather Jesus beckons us to a restoration that is unfathomable and, we believe at times, unattainable. All is nothing without Jesus, and nothing means everything when we permit Him to consume us—every pore, every thought, every breath of our lives, our total being, our consciousness and unconsciousness. Let us believe His words today, words that are not merely letters formed on a page, but the Living Word who breathes new life into us through His message of love.
Do I truly believe the words Jesus spoke to be living, alive and relevant to me, this day? Is my interior life empty enough for Jesus to fill it with Himself? Do I recognize my spiritual poverty and embrace it so that I may be one who lives in the light rather than in the darkness, who is saved rather than condemned?
Jesus, I know you did not just speak words, but You are the Word, alive and present in the tabernacles of the world, in the Sacraments, in Scripture, and within me. Restore me to Yourself so that I may not only accept but embrace my nothingness so that You alone may consume me with Your Love and Mercy. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing
About the Author
Jeannie Ewing believes the world ignores and rejects the value of the Cross. She writes about the hidden value of suffering and even discovering joy in the midst of grief. As a disability advocate, Jeannie shares her heart as a mom of two girls with special needs in Navigating Deep Waters and is the author of From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore , and Waiting with Purpose. Jeannie is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic magazines. She, her husband, and three daughters live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website lovealonecreates.com.