Monday of the Fifth Week

Stained glass window showing Jesus, the Light of the World carrying a lamp

Daily Offering

Light of love, you shine in the darkness to illuminate our lives with hope. Bring me close today to those who need me so that I may be a light to them too.    Philip Harrison SJ

Entering into Prayer

Praying a set prayer slowly

Choose a longer prayer that you know well. For example, the ‘Our Father’. In time with your breathing, pray each line slowly. Only move on when something of the meaning of that phrase has landed in you.

Today's Scripture (John 8:12-20)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’

Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’ He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Food for thought

Again, Jesus is teaching and the Pharisees interrupt. This time they challenge his authority directly. Yesterday Jesus seemed to be teaching the Pharisees, but his teaching had a message for the disciples too. Today the questioning Pharisees give Jesus opportunity to teach his disciples his true nature while also revealing the false heart of their arguments. His teaching is for disciples and Pharisees alike, although each will take home a different message. Yesterday He refused to condemn one woman, today he says, “I judge no one”.

Suggestions for Prayer

Spend a few moments imagining yourself in the Temple precincts enthralled by the beauty of the teaching. Gradually you start to consider the words the evangelist has remembered:

Words that might make the soul sing:

‘I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark’

‘My testimony is valid because I know where I come from, and where I am going’

‘My judgement will be sound because I am not alone; the one who sent me is with me’

‘I may be testifying on my own behalf, but the father who sent me is my witness too’.

Let these words roll around your mind, savour them, reflect on how they apply to you too.

The scribes and Pharisees prefer the dark. In the dark they can claim to make the rules that help us get about safely and avoid offending God, which give them authority to punish those who do not obey; in the light we can all see what needs doing. The law of Moses states, wisely, that the judgement of one person should be supported by at least one witness. Jesus has God as His witness, but the Pharisees cannot see Him in the dark of their own choosing. We all have a touch of the Pharisee in us. The words of Jesus quoted above lift our souls into the glory of discipleship; the arguments of the Pharisees drag us into the dark. We should learn to tell the difference.

How are you going to respond today?

Say the Apostle’s creed today, focusing on every phrase and its meaning.

Image for the day

Stained glass window showing Jesus, the Light of the World carrying a lamp

  • What do you see in this image? How does it make you feel?

  • Spend a few minutes reflecting on how Jesus brings you light, and how you might bring light to others, which His help.

Examen (review of prayer)

Let God look at you with love. What are you doing for Lent this year? How is that working out? What’s going well? And less well? What do you need from God to help you?

Talk with God about your Lent. Be still in God’s gaze again.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.                     

Stephen Hoyland

Going Deeper

Simple Prayer and the Ignatian Exercises 

Morning in the Great Mountains