“Never before has anyone spoken like this one.”
Today’s Gospel features two groups of people: those who critiqued Jesus from their own viewpoint, education, past experience, prejudice, or fear, and those who listened and tried to discover what Jesus was doing.
These are still the two possible ways of approaching Jesus. In fact, these are the two possible ways of approaching the Church, world events, family situations, and other people. Those who saw Jesus through their own lenses argued. They were divided because they could only see and hear what their personal viewpoint allowed them to see or hear. If they did not like someone’s viewpoint, they honestly could not see or hear it. All the time they missed Jesus completely, never authentically encountering him.
Those who listened to him, such as the guards and Nicodemus, who earlier had come to talk to Jesus by night, observed Jesus. They stated how they felt; they didn’t argue with the others. They were too much in awe to participate in petty, fragmented conversations.
In the third chapter of John’s Gospel, Nicodemus learned that no matter how much he knew as a Pharisee, he had to start over, be born again, keep silence before an event that would reveal something to him that was larger and greater than his own thoughts and judgments.
This is a tremendous lesson for us in the Church today. We have to be wise and connect to sources where we can hear and see more than people’s biases, agendas, or fears. We don’t need to depend on the interpretation of the secular news for our information on the Church. We can log on to www. vatican. va and read Church news for ourselves. We can lose our time arguing with others about how we each see things, or we can spend our time nourishing ourselves reading the Bible or biographies of saints, or listening to spoken-word CDs about Scripture and spirituality. We can connect to the Lord directly in Eucharistic communion and adoration.
It is difficult, Jesus, to measure the length and breadth of my worldview. All I know is that it is small and cannot contain the mystery of you or your Church, or any other person for that matter. Help me change from analysis paralysis to listening, observing, asking questions, wondering, and contemplating. Amen.
Ask questions. Listen. Pray.
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 84–85). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.