Everlasting Life

The readings for this last Friday of Lent really cause me to pause and take a good honest look at my thoughts, words and deeds.

The First Reading speaks of terror on every side and vengeance. The prophet Jeremiah prays for the Lord to save him from those who would denounce him, persecute and prey on him. Jeremiah wants the Lord to be his champion against his foes and the wicked.

The Gospel scene is of the Jews gathered in the Temple of Jerusalem for the feast of Dedication also known as the Feast of Light or Hanukkah. In the previous nine verses, John 10:22-30 Jesus has a very blunt conversation with those gathered that “the Father and I are one.” Because of this, the gathered Jews want to stone Jesus for blasphemy.

They, the Jews who had seen the miracles, who heard Jesus speak and teach in the temples wanted to arrest and kill Jesus for blasphemy, not for his works or his teachings on faith.

What’s been causing me distress is the punishments that the prophet and the Jews in the Temple wanted: death. This is on my mind as I examine how I really feel when someone harms me with words or deeds or inactions. Do I really want that for them? Do I have a beam in my eye?

I believe Jesus is the Lord, that life is sacred. How is hatred an option or a death punishment correct?

In the world today there is so much hurt, want of retribution, punishment for the sake of making another suffer: that is not just or merciful.

Lord, I believe your words are the words of everlasting life. Even from the cross you forgave those who mocked, persecuted and killed you. Help me to understand your ways. Help me to forgive as you did, to live as you did, to love as you do. Amen

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

Feature Image Credit: Fuu J, https://unsplash.com/photos/r2nJPbEYuSQ