Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Martin Luther King, killed in Memphis in the United States in 1968. With him we remember all those who hunger and thirst for justice.


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 8,21-30

Again he said to them: I am going away; you will look for me and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come. So the Jews said to one another, 'Is he going to kill himself, that he says, "Where I am going, you cannot come?" ' Jesus went on: You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I have told you already: You will die in your sins. Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. So they said to him, 'Who are you?' Jesus answered: What I have told you from the outset. About you I have much to say and much to judge; but the one who sent me is true, and what I declare to the world I have learnt from him. They did not recognise that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said: When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of my own accord. What I say is what the Father has taught me; he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him. As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Gospel of John has us stop once again in the temple where Jesus continues his final and decisive confrontation with his adversaries. The listeners persist in not accepting Jesus’ testimony about his divine origin. Otherwise they would have to accept what he was saying and change their hearts and their lives. That is why they refuse him and even distort Jesus’ words, as we do when we do not want to listen to the Gospel with an open heart. When Jesus says that where he is going they are not able to go, they go as far as to think that he intends to kill himself. In truth, Jesus is working on an entirely different level than the one on which his opponents want to remain. Jesus says, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” Jesus does not want to express distance from men and women, rather he wishes to explain the distance there is between the way men and women normally think and the way God thinks. And the Lord’s way of thinking appears clearly in the moment of the culmination of Jesus’ life: his death on the cross. It is the opposite of the normal human way of thinking, in which each person is wholly concerned with saving him or herself. Jesus, on the other hand, dedicated his entire life to saving other people, all the way to the cross. That is why he tells the crowd - even if they still do not understand him: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he.” Yes, it is at the moment of his death that we can clearly see who Jesus is and why he became flesh. The first person to recognize him was the Roman centurion who was standing under the cross. He saw how Jesus behaved to the last breath and said: “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mk 15:39). Even some of those who were present in the temple believed in him when they heard him speak. If his words were sufficient for them, why then do we doubt even though the Gospel has been proclaimed to us so many times?