Christ returns to Jerusalem for the mid-winter Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah, a celebration of the Judas Maccabee’s cleansing and rededication of the Temple) and is pursued by the hostile Jewish leadership. Confronting Christ in the Temple, the frustrated Jewish leadership demands that Christ admit He is the Messiah; when Christ says, “I and the Father are one” the Jews pick up stones with the intent to kill Him.

Rather than retreat, Christ seeks to persuade the would-be killers by demonstrating the flaw of their murderous logic. Pointing to His many miraculous works from the Father, Christ demands to know which of His miracles are sufficient to condemn Him. Unable to refute the evidence of Christ’s miracles, the Jewish leadership accuse Him of blasphemy because Christ being a man, makes Himself God. Christ responds by revealing the flaw in their logic: Christ can only do the miraculous works of the Father because He is the consecrated Son of God. Prophetically, at the Feast of the Dedication which celebrates the return of God’s presence to the Temple in Jerusalem, Christ reveals that He is consecrated by the Father; later, it will be revealed that Christ is the New Temple in which God resides in the Eucharist.

Christ, in His mercy, again gives the Jews a chance to repent by urging them to consider the many miraculous works that have come from His hand. Christ reveals that His miraculous works are worthy of belief because they are the works of the Father, works which are the result of the unity of the Father and the Son. Christ’s insistence that “the Father is in Me and I am in the Father” leads the Jewish leadership to again attempt to arrest Christ; Christ again mysteriously eludes capture and withdraws across the Jordan River where many come to Him and believe.

1) Despite being surrounded by men with the intent to kill with stones in their hands, Christ, the Perfection of Virtue and full of Divine Power, is not intimidated by men. Be awed by Christ’s heroic courage in the face of murderous men.

2) Like the enemies of Christ who ignored His miraculous works, many men today either reject or ignore the Gospel record of Christ’s many miraculous signs. During Lent, reflect on Christ’s purposeful use of Signs (CCC 547-550), meditate upon Christ’s many miraculous signs and pray for Christ to strengthen your faith.

3) Christ’s method of evangelization includes both preaching and good works.  During Lent, renew your commitment to being a Missionary Witness (CCC 2044-2051) and pray for Christ to help you draw others to Christ through your witness.