Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

John 5:31-47

Witnesses to Jesus


Once, I found myself window shopping in one of the shabbiest streets of the metropolis. What some stalls offered as “services” amused me: A report card with straight As, a fake college diploma, a fabricated letter of recommendation supposedly from the mayor (from any town of your choice!), a “doctored” certificate of attendance made to appear to have come from some prestigious schools and a 1000-peso passport plus visa (forged of course!).

Surprisingly people flocked to them, people who long to get recognition even it meant cheating their way through bureaucracy and/or job applications; people who need credentials and people who need it fast, minus the sweat and toil.

Jesus, like those people, was once tempted by the devil to make “short cuts.” He too needed credentials because to His distress, John the Baptist’s testimony of Him was not accepted by the people. His works, miracles and teachings was supposed to speak for His identity but His audience refused to accept all these. Not even the Father’s testimony was heeded! What is worse, this rejection of Jesus continues even until the present time! Would we want Jesus to have a fake passport? Could we bear to have Him cheat His way towards our hearts?

Definitely not! He will always be genuine, a true and loving God. Accordingly, He too does not require us to be “fakes”. He would accept us for who we truly are, minus our “masks,” minus the makeup and jewelries, minus the fake smiles that try to cover up our hurts. He meets us with the sole credential that He offers us: A pair of outstretched hands waiting for our return. How can we possibly continue to reject that? (Fr. Anthony Ynzon, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


March 10, 2016 Thursday

On January 25, 2015, forty-four members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAP) were bestowed posthumous honors for giving their lives while carrying out an order to arresta well-known world terrorist. They were mostly young and well-trained. Unfortunately they were cut down while performing their task. We felt sorry for them and their loved ones for the loss of so many young lives. They were concrete witnesses to people for “walking the talk.”

In our gospel today, our Lord had reasons to be disappointed with people who claimed to be followers of Moses and the prophets. If these people truly believed in Moses and the prophets, they should have been able to discern in Jesus’ words and deeds that he was the promised One. What hindered them from coming to Christ was their shortsightedness due to their self-seeking interests and appropriating for themselves praises which should be for God. Their hearts and consciences could not even be pierced by the strong words of Jesus. As leaders of the people in spiritual matters, they did not have the love of God in them. Love of God as the greatest commandment, was the basis of Christ’s accusation of them. Because of the absence of love, they could not come to Jesus to have life.

For us today, can we see our daily life as a witness to the faith that we claim to have? When we are not seeking praises for ourselves, then we will perceive its great value. This will lead us to listen to God’s word and follow his will closely. And when in God’s good time we hear his voice, there will be no need of anything else in this world. However, this needs to be experienced first. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Radio Veritas Asia, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)


FORGET AND REMEMBER: Forgetting and remembering are two very special gifts that God has given us. Forgetting is a gift. For instance, we do not remember the pain when our mothers bore us at birth. Even our mothers only vaguely remember that pain but babies but babies don’t remember it at all. It is God’s way of protecting the baby from the memory of that unbearable pain. Forgetfulness is also good. For things that are so unpleasant and become burdens to carry, God gives us the gift to forget.

Remembering is also a gift. If we could not remember, life would be very miserable. Imagine, everyday of your life, you have to be taught how to brush your teeth; you have to taught how to cook the egg; you have to be taught how to put on your shoes because you keep forgetting how to do these activities necessary for daily living. What a miserable life. Imagine that even to think that teacher will forget it also. Now what happens to us?

The gift of forgetting is a gift from the Lord. The gift of remembering is a gift too from the Lord. The Gospel and the First Reading, show us these two gifts. The gift to remember is also the gift to forget. In the First Reading, we are reminded by the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “I will never forget you,” the Lord says. “I will always remember you, the Lord says. The Lord also says, “I will forget all your sins. I will not keep a record of your sins. I will wipe out all your sins.” And so it is with the Lord Jesus. The Lord will never forget us. The Lord always remembers us but He does not remember our sins because God is rich in mercy. (Bp. Soc Villegas, Love Like Jesus p. 89)


CALLED AND SENT: “… these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” – John 5:36

I used to be a full-time missionary for our Catholic community. During my 10 years of serving the Lord full-time, I never imagined that I would be able to do the things He called me to do, which included speaking before thousands of people in different languages, translating talks and songs into different languages, recording an album of praise songs in a different language, and, most important of all, ministering to families and individuals, sometimes in different languages, too.

I never thought that God could use a broken, sinful, imperfect me to share His love to others. But He did. And now, He’s still using me — through my writing and speaking skills.

I am so grateful for His awesome love and amazing grace — because I know that the works I do testify that it is indeed He, Abba Father, who has chosen, called and sent me.

In the same way, the Father also wants to send you. Will you respond to His call? Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (

Reflection: God uses even the most sinful of us to do His works. He just needs our yes.

Lord, show me where You want me to go and what You want me to do. Send me, Lord, and I will go.


1ST READING: Moses intercedes for the people of Israel even though they must have been a disappointment to him as they were to God. Here we see the true heart of a leader. He is willing to forgive his people their errors of judgment and continue to work with them in finding a better solution to their problems. He even argues with God in order to extract a better outcome for them. Exodus 32:7-14

GOSPEL: Jesus is aware of His divine identity. He knows that His message is more important than John the Baptist’s and He makes this known to His disciples. We can also see that He is not interested in human praise and that His focus is God’s will, not His own or that of the people. This shows us what is necessary to be His disciples. Let us learn from the way Jesus worked to know what it means to follow Him John 5:31-47

think:  A true leader is willing to forgive his people their errors of judgment and continue to work with them in finding a better solution to their problems.


OUR FAITH IS VERY REASONABLE: Jesus’ words today make us see clearly that the Christian faith is not blind in following Him. It is founded on reasonable grounds. It builds on the communal story of the Old Testament: on Moses’ and the Israelites’ experiences with God, on the entire works of God from the creation of everything, and on the words of the prophets. All these point to the promise of a Messiah. Further, the Christian faith is justified by the apostolic witness about the works and words of Jesus, who truly lived in human space and time. He truly was born and lived, unlike the gods and goddesses of mythologies.

The reasonableness of the Christian faith also rests on the real and personal stories that each believer has of Jesus. “My works that I do testify to me,” Jesus says. Sound Christian life must then grow around three poles:

  1. Study. Scripture study, theological inquiry and spiritual readings. Through these, we deepen our understanding of the various aspects and of the rich treasury of our faith-tradition. Through these, we note how the truth of the Christian faith has withstood and grown through the questioning of ages.
  2. Witnessing. This includes appreciating the stories of saints, especially of martyrs; reading through the testimonies of contemporary men and women of faith; chronicling our own journeys in faith. With these we note how Jesus is Risen and Alive. As He promised, He is with us — doing signs and wonders in our midst — through His Holy Spirit.
  3. Prayer. This is our “hotline” with Jesus. Here, we experience Him truly in communication and in communion with us. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is your personal basis of believing in Jesus? What are your own experiences of Jesus as truly real and alive? What about the Christian faith do you cherish as personally meaningful and unique?

Thank You, Lord, for bringing me to the Christian faith. May I learn to appreciate it more deeply.


ABOVE ALL, BE HUMBLE – Jesus warns His disciples about teachers of the law who like to walk around in flowing robes, love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets (Mark 12:39, Luke 20:46). So, Jesus gives them a parable on humility, on how they are not to seek honor for themselves.

Scribes and Pharisees were ambitious for honor and respect, not just from one another but from the common people as well. They would fulfill the law and be righteous before men to be noticed by them. In today’s Gospel, Jesus rebukes the Jews for seeking honor from one another, for this prevents them from believing in the one that the Father sends. New Living Translation has verse 44 as: “No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible states that the Jews’ inordinate desire for honor was “a hindrance to them from believing in Christ, who appeared in such an abject form, and made so mean a figure; whose doctrine was so unsuitable to their carnal minds, and whose followers were so poor and contemptible.” Seeing how high their stature was, it was just impossible for them to see a person worthy of honor, a man as abject in status as Jesus.

Jesus has prophesied about His own disciples, who were to be cast out from temples (John 16:2). For there indeed was a law among them, that those who would profess Him to be the Messiah should be cast out of the synagogue. So this resulted to people not really daring to even acknowledge Jesus even if they were convinced that He was the Messiah. It would make them lose their honor and respect among men. It is interesting how Jesus was able to see that seeking man’s honor can have an adverse effect on our faith. May we heed the Lord’s warning and protect ourselves from this malady of seeking honor for ourselves. Fr. Sandy V. Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: Look within. What motivates you in doing your religious practices?

May I grow in humility, O Lord. Amen. (2016.03.10)


THURSDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT (YEAR B) – JUAN 5:31-47. KINSA MAN ANG TAWO NGA HAMBUGERO? Siya ang tawo nga magdayeg sa iyang kaugalingon ngadto sa uban. Iyang ipanulti ang iyang mga nahimo, nahibaloan, natigom, nadaog ug uban pa. Apan dili kini mao ang angay’ng buhaton sa usa ka Kristiyano. Sa ebanghelyo, si Kristo miingon, “Kon magsaksi ako mahitungod sa akong kaugalingon, ayaw tuohi ang akong isulti. Apan may lain nga nagsaksi mahitungod kanako.” Ang tigsaksi nga Iyang gipasabot dinhi mao si Juan nga magbubunyag, ug labaw sa tanan, ang Iyang Langitnong Amahan nga nahimuot pag-ayo kaniya. Kining ebanghelyo magtudlo kanato nga ang usa ka Kristiyano dili angay mahimong hambugero. Nakasabot siya sa giingon sa Panultihon: “Maoy padayga kanimo ang ubang tawo. . . apan ayaw pag-unay pagdayeg sa imong kaugalingon” (27:2). Posted by Abet Uy


Thursday, March 10

Ex 32:7-14; Jn 5:31-47

The Witnesses to Jesus

In Jewish tradition self testimony is not acceptable, but witnesses are necessary to prove the truth of a claim. Jesus is using the method of rabbinic argumentation for presenting his teaching further in this long passage.

The witnesses to Jesus are fourfold. John the Baptist, Jesus’ own works, the Father and the Scriptures. John the Baptist was introduced in the prologue as a witness to light (Jn 1: 6-8). John is called a “burning and shining lamp” (5:35). He was not the light but only a lamp and the Light is Jesus and John’s function was to give witness to the Light.

Jesus’ works which his father entrusted him to complete are the second witness. ‘Works’ is a word to a certain extent parallel to “signs”. It refers to his ministry particularly his miracles which St.John calls “signs”.  If the “signs” implies more the identity of Jesus, “works” refer more to his mission as the envoy of God. Jesus qualifies the works as empowered by the Father.

The third witness is the Father himself. John does not report a voice from heaven during the baptism of Jesus or the voice heard during the transfiguration of Jesus at Mount Tabor. The testimony of the Father meant by John is not external but internal; in the interiority of the believer just as you inhale and breath you take the cosmic energy which symbolizes the spirit of the Father. “This is the testimony that God has given about the Son. He who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself” (1 Jn 5: 9-10, 2: 14).

The final witness is the Scripture. The Jews believed that the Scriptures are the sources of eternal life and they come from God. St Basil says, “The distinctive mark of faith is the unhesitating certainty that the words inspired by God are really true”. The messianic prophecies which we find in the Scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus in time.

Jesus concludes his discourse with a note of the disbelief of Jews. The Jews believed that Moses would defend them before God because they accepted the Scriptures of which Moses is the author. Jesus tells that Moses would accuse the Jews because they did not believe in Jesus. Disbelief in Jesus is equal to disbelief in the Scriptures. If they accepted the Scriptures they cannot but accept Jesus. Like Jesus we need to be conscious of who we are and what mission we have to fulfil. Fr Shepherd Thelapilly CMI (2016.03.10)


March 10, 2016

REFLECTION: Today’s first reading is all about God getting angry and calming down after a while. And similar scenes are described many times throughout the Bible, so much so that many Christians are afraid of God the Father—not Jesus, only of his angry Father. But what exactly does the Bible mean to say here?

Simply that anything that harms humans is incompatible with God’s will, who loves all humans as his children. And this incompatibility is expressed by stating that some things make God angry. But this way of speaking is only a metaphor, because God is not in time and cannot change. Nothing can affect him because, as the philosophers say, he is Pure Act. He cannot be calm, get angry, and become calm again—all things which require time, and there is no past-present-future in God.

But we are affected by God’s so-called anger if we have caused it, because this means that we have harmed a fellow human. As long as we do not repent of it, we will not be in a right relationship with God.

There is no anger in God, only pure love.


8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

This entry was posted in zz. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

  1. Fr. Jim says:

    Dear Fr. JS Benitez,
    I’m a priest from Myanmar.
    I would like to express my heartfelt thanks towards you. I really appreciate the homilies on your blog ‘ justmehomely’ which i have been visiting, reading, and reshare in my homilies since last year. May the good Lord bless you, your mission and your loved ones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s