Jer. 20:1-13; John 10:31-42
Feast of the Dedication
YEAR I: Our first reading today tells us about Jeremiah who suffers persecution from other people even from his own friends. And for this reason he prays to God. He knows too that God will answer his cry to Him. He expects that God will take revenge against this wicked people.
In a similar manner, Jesus in today’s gospel, faces the same situation but with different spirit. In our first reading Jeremiah expects that God may take revenge against the wicked people. Jesus, on the other hand, prays not for revenge but He brings redemption and salvation to those who persecute Him. He does good to His people. He even humbles Himself more by telling them to at least believe in His works even if they don’t believe in Him. He affords telling them to forget Him and asks them to realize the love His Father has for them. Like for example, He tells them to remember the restoration of sight to the blind; the multiplication of the loaves; the changing of water into wine and so on so that they may be able to see the Father and His love into these works. But what is their response? In response to what Jesus says to them, they do not listen to Him, even try to arrest and want to kill Him because He makes Himself to be God. This is blasphemy. And blasphemy is one of the three sins or crimes punishable by death. They get angry with Him due to His statements of His intimate association with God. Actually, everything that Jesus is stems from the Father. He is not a man who makes Himself God; He is the Word of God who becomes man. It is the Father who consecrates Him (v. 36).
In other words, Jesus experiences what Jeremiah has experienced, the same rejection, betrayal and persecution. But His response to all these is to press on to His crucifixion, death and finally, His resurrection.
In our modern society, Jesus is still rejected and even persecuted. Just like this British historian, H.G. Wells who said that Jesus was the greatest teacher of the world. But Wells did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That is why the famous British theologian C.S. Lewis thought that Wells’ position is inconsistent. It is because, for Lewis, we would never call a human being who claimed equality with God, a great teacher. We might call him: a fool, a madman, a devil but never a great teacher.
But when it comes to Jesus Christ, Lewis says, only one, out of four choices, that we can choose. We choose either Jesus is a fool who should be pitied by us, or a madman who should be shunned by us, or the devil who should be stoned and denied by us, or the Lord who should be adored and worshipped by us.
For us we believe that Jesus is Lord of all and our God. But what convinces us that Jesus is Lord and not a fool or a madman or the devil. Let us always remember that if we see Jesus, we see God; if we listen to Jesus we listen to God; if we love Jesus we love God.