Wednesday of the Fifth Week

The caravan of Abraham showing people, camels etc

Daily Offering

Come, Lord, dwell in my heart and heal it so that I can help others and the world around me.   Via Click to Pray

Entering into prayer

Using an object: Hold an object: a stone, leaf, cross, anything you like. Weigh it, feel it, look at it. It is a part of creation and loved by God.

Today's scripture (John 8:31-42)
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’

Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’

They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ Jesus said to them,

‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.’

Food for thought

The evangelist has brought together conversations that happened at different times, but let’s imagine that the whole of John 8 is one long conversation triggered by the situation of the woman caught in adultery. Here we are, all Jews together, some captivated by Jesus, some who believe in him, but clearly have reservations, and some who just find him annoying. The church gives us the whole of chapter 8, verse by verse, all except that last few verses of this passage. The punch line is missing, and there’s a reason for that.

Suggestions for Prayer

Jesus offers freedom to those who believe in him and it is thrown back at him. These ‘believers’ put their membership of the group before their respect for the God who made it. They think that being Jews gives them rights, confers privilege.

Arguments about paternity are not likely to have a peaceful end. Jesus asserts that the father they claim is not their father, they take this to mean they are illegitimate. That’s quite an insult. How do you feel as this argument unfolds?

Jesus says he speaks of what he has seen with his father and that these people are putting into action what they have learned from theirs. Who is that? They claim, rightly, to have God as their father.

We are taught to be open, to listen, to be humble and accept that we might be wrong. Confronted by arguments which twist the truth into falsehood we may feel we have nowhere to go. Do we have the authority to say, ‘You’re lying’, or ‘that’s not what it means’? Jesus says it for us.

In the verses not included in this meditation Jesus tells these people that their father is the devil and that he is a liar and a murderer. It is not for us to use such language.

Jesus is son of the father, if we make his word our home we become children of the household too. God the father will watch over us as good fathers should, protecting us from harm. When the twisted comments of others strike at the heart of our being and belief we can only keep silent and let God speak for us.

How are you going to respond today?

Say the ‘Our Father’, focusing on a sense of belonging in God’s family.

Image for the day

A huge number of people, their belongings and their camels stretch back as far as the eye can see

  • What do you see in this image?

  • Do you find this image helpful?

  • How do you feel about being part of the Christian family? God’s family?

  • Talk to Jesus about this.

Examen (review of prayer)

St Ignatius tells us to review the time we have spent in prayer. Take time to do this. today. Review your feelings, ask Jesus and Mary to give you what you may need and let God teach you what you need to learn. Ask for help for tomorrow.

Going Deeper

Examen: look back over your day

Find out more about St Ignatius