Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – 5th Week of Lent – Saturday – John 11:45-56
Christ’s miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead was witnessed by His Apostles, Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary and by a number of Jews from Jerusalem who had arrived to mourn the death of Lazarus. While many believed in Christ because He raised Lazarus, some immediately went to Jerusalem to inform the Jewish leadership. The chief priests and the Pharisees had sought to arrest and to kill Christ multiple times for they were unwilling to believe He was the Messiah. Now, with overwhelming proof of His miracles, the Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) switches tactics; they will justify their murder of Christ by rationalizing it will protect the Jewish people from uprising and being wiped out by the Romans.
Caiaphas, the long-time leader of the Sanhedrin, ridicules the council’s handwringing fear and says, “it is expedient…that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” Caiaphas’ statement is full of irony; despite his evil and ignorance of Christ, Caiaphas prophetically reveals that Christ’s death will give life to those Jews (and Gentiles) who believe; it is precisely because the Jewish people do not believe in Christ’s death that Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. as Christ predicted (Matt 24:2) and serval million Jews will die.
Aware that the Jewish leadership was now completely committed and plotting to kill Him, Christ withdraws with His disciples to a small town near the wilderness. Completely in control of His destiny, God waits for the Passover to return to Jerusalem; He will transform the memorial celebration of the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian captivity through the Passion and Resurrection to deliver all men from the eternal death of sin.
1) Just like Christ thwarts the schemes of the Jewish leadership, the evil men and women of today who deny Christ cannot stop God’s will from being done. Marvel at God’s divine knowledge, power and mercy.
2) God, in His infinite mercy, became flesh so men might be saved. During Lent, give thanks that the Word Became Flesh (CCC 456-460) and pray that Christ might transform your heart and the hearts of all men to accept Him as Savior.
3) Adam’s rebellion against God’s will is replayed by the Jewish leaders and millions of men today. During Lent, recommit to the obedience of the calling of the Lay Faithful (CCC 897-913) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to fulfill your calling to be a priest, prophet and king for Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.