Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Devotional – 5th Week of Lent – Tuesday – John 8:21-30
Despite the multiple failed attempts by the Jewish leaders to arrest and discredit Him, Christ refuses to back down, declaring His divinity as the “light of the world” and mysteriously proclaiming He is sent by the Father. Cryptically speaking of His coming Passion (“I go away”), Christ warns the Jewish leadership they will die in their sin; this does not simply refer to bodily death, but the eternal death that forever separates the evil from God.
Christ explains how souls become separated from God. Referring to the vertical dimension of holiness, Christ confirms that those in the depth of sin are from “below” and “belong” to the world and those obedient to God are from “above” and do not belong to the world. At the core of sin, is not believing Christ’s assertion, “I AM”, as God revealed Himself in the burning bush to Moses (“I AM”; Ex 3:14); for their lack of belief, Christ has “much to judge” (condemn).
Stuck in the darkness of their sin or perhaps to trap Christ in blasphemy, the Jewish leadership continues to prod Christ to reveal His identity. Rather than attempt to convince the inconvinceable, Christ instead points to the coming proof of the Passion (“lifted up”); then, the world will know that Christ is the Son of Man, who comes into the world to reveal the Father by doing His Will. It is in being “lifted up” on the Cross that Christ is glorified and the fullness of God’s saving Divine Mercy is made manifest by His willingness to die for those willing to accept Him; many hear Christ and begin to believe.
1) Because Christ’s assertion that He is the Son of God is familiar, some fail to be awed. Consider the stunning proclamation of Christ; that He, who appears to be a man, is the great “I AM”; ponder what this means.
2) Those who obstinately cling to sin and do not believe in Christ will be damned. During Lent, reflect on Christ’s somber warnings about sin and renew your understanding of your Judgment (CCC 405, 408, 1861, 1020-1022). Pray for Christ to give you the grace to repent and fully give yourself to Him.
3) Men are called to imitate Christ, who perfectly pleased the Father. During Lent, recommit to live your Life in Christ (CCC 2822-2827,1691-1698), and pray for Christ to help you joyfully do the Will of God.