5th Week of Lent
1st Reading: Ez 37:21-28
You will then say to them: Thus says Yahweh: I am about to withdraw the Israelites from where they were among the nations. I shall gather them from all around and bring them back to their land. I shall make them into one people on the mountains of Israel and one king is to be king of them all. They will no longer form two nations or be two separate kingdoms, nor will they defile themselves again with their idols, their detestable practices and their sins. I shall free them from the guilt of their treachery; I shall cleanse them and they will be for me a people and I shall be God for them. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all. They will live according to my laws and follow and practice my decrees. They will settle in the land I gave to my servant Jacob where their ancestors lived. There they will live forever, their children and their children’s children. David my servant will be their prince forever.
I shall establish a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. I shall settle them and they will increase and I shall put my sanctuary in their midst forever. I shall make my home at their side; I shall be their God and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I am Yahweh who makes Israel holy, having my sanctuary among them forever.”
Gospel: John 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what he did; but some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called the Sanhedrin Council.
They said, “What are we to do? For this man keeps on giving miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, all the people will believe in him and, as a result of this, the Romans will come and sweep away our Holy Place and our nation.”
Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all nor do you see clearly what you need. It is better to have one man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed.”
In saying this Caiaphas did not speak for himself, but being High Priest that year, he foretold as a prophet that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the scattered children of God. So, from that day on, they were determined to kill him.
Because of this, Jesus no longer moved about freely among the Jews. He withdrew instead to the country near the wilderness and stayed with his disciples in a town called Ephraim.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand and people from everywhere were coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover. They looked for Jesus and as they stood in the Temple, they talked with one another, “What do you think? Will he come to the festival?”
Caiphas was a high priest, but more fundamentally he was a politician. Politicians think about millions, not about individuals (unless in some cases, the individual is themselves!) “It is expedient that one man should die for the nation,” he said. In other words, someone else, definitely not Caiphas! He was an unprincipled man. For the other view point—the point of view of the one who was to die for the nation—Psalm 87, “Lord my God, I call for help by day, I cry at night before you…” As you pray that psalm be one with all the human beings who are imprisoned in one way or another throughout the world.
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