Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Found Wanting

Gospel John 5:31-47 

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf,
my testimony would not be valid;
but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,
and I know that his testimony is valid.
You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth:
not that I depend on human testimony;
no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.
John was a lamp alight and shining
and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John’s:
the works my Father has given me to carry out,
these same works of mine testify
that the Father has sent me.
Besides, the Father who sent me
bears witness to me himself.
You have never heard his voice,
you have never seen his shape,
and his word finds no home in you
because you do not believe in the one he has sent.
‘You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life;
now these same scriptures testify to me,
and yet you refuse to come to me for life!
As for human approval, this means nothing to me.
Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.
I have come in the name of my Father
and you refuse to accept me;
if someone else comes in his own name
you will accept him.
How can you believe,
since you look to one another for approval
and are not concerned
with the approval that comes from the one God?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:
you place your hopes on Moses,
and Moses will be your accuser.
If you really believed him
you would believe me too,
since it was I that he was writing about;
but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,
how can you believe what I say?’

To think that all this is proclaimed before most of the big miracles. To think that this is a midweek reading and so heard by a handful of daily mass goers.

So many levels for all the Gospels and maybe especially for John. What strikes me most is the warning against making your mind up; setting your beliefs in stone and deciding that everything is either/or. Especially when the world is bigger than that; God is wider than than and life is just not like that.

Jesus speaks with legal dexterity; his arguments are seamless - joing the dots and leaving the 'Jews' with no option to agree - but they won't. And they won't - just because - their belief has been passed on in rules and laws rather than love and faith.

Rules, as they say, are meant to be broken so John can be right without Jesus being right as well. No-one wants their hearts broken or their faith denied - so they can be boxed up somewhere safe inside and never brought into the public domain. And soon enough, a gentle soul can end up wrapped in cotton wool - never to see the light of day - never to act in love or charity.

Our daily life becomes ruled by the head; the lawbook and the world's judgement. No place for God in there. No place to see works of light or the hope of salvation. Faith without faith; how easy it becomes to choose the rules to play by; to be nostalgic about the 'days when'; to imagine a glory to come without ever living the faith now; this day; to the next person you meet.



Martha said...

Faith without faith! Such an interesting comment! A simple comment but its meaning is huge! I do feel such a tug regarding my faith, yet my religion tells me one faith tells me something else. Once again, the rules, (the box) can keep us from truly "knowing" our faith and then living it! Do we have a blind faith and abide by the rules without question? Are we sinful if we question the walls of religion..and want to climb out of the corner we have been backed into? And....what is faith without religion...interesting thought there we need to be "told" how to worship?
Loved your post always..thought provoking!!!!

Word in the Hand said...

Thanks Martha - I only noticed it when I read it back - I was almost going to delete/change it as a typo but realised it's probably the phrase that speaks - religion and faith - not always the same thing - as you know.
Have a great day, blessings m+x