Thursday, March 18, 2010

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Thursday, 4th Week of Lent, John 5:31-47)

Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

* * * * * * * *

The unbelief of those to whom Jesus is sent is simply too great. Despite the witness of the Law and the prophets, they still find themselves unable to accept Jesus, not because they can’t but because they won’t. Their hearts have become hardened, their ears deaf, and their eyes blind to the reality of Jesus right in front of them. How could a people whose sensitivity to the workings of God in the world had been sharpened and honed by generation upon generation that has waited constantly for the coming of God’s messiah still miss his arrival? The only answers is stubbornness of heart.

We too can be stubborn at times, unwilling to admit that what is in front of us is a clear manifestation of God. Unfortunately, becoming ourselves blind isn’t too difficult a thing to happen. When our biases begin clouding our sight, when our preconceived notions about who and what God is begin to hinder us from seeing everything as a possible revelation of his presence, we become unable to detect his presence, and instead take refuge in our own idols.

What is the cure for this kind of blindness? None but obedience alone. And that is the greatest puzzle of it all. The more we obey, the more we see. The more we open ourselves up to God’s command for us to open the doors of our hearts, the clear our sight becomes. Without this, we will remain imprisoned in our darkness.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)