Scripture: Lectionary # 249. Wisdom 2:1.12-22. Psalm 34:17-18.19-20.21.23.
Our readings are coherent and unified today in showing us the strength of
the wise and holy (wholesome) person and the strength of Jesus in the midst
of opposition that is even death threatening like that of the person of
wisdom. Envy, jealousy, and hatred are nasty vices and are sins; they are
among the capital sins of our tainted human nature and its inclinations.
We get a glimpse into them through the first reading for those who are
bothered and troubled by the law-abiding wisdom figure spoken of in the
Book of Wisdom. Their conscience bothers them but their rationalizing takes
them to the sinful thoughts about getting rid of him. The same seems to be
the situation of Jesus in the Gospel for today. If we get rid of them, such
people reason, we will not be bothered and can going living our selfish and
sinful way without being troubled.
Jesus is being persecuted for his preaching, his teachings, and for his
actions helping people who need cures. He does this often on a Sabbath and
he also is making it clear to his listeners that he is doing the will of
God through these works which are for others not for himself. We can sense
the final days of Jesus are not far off and that he will son be captured
and persecuted. We have the opportunity to unite ourselves in spirit with
his journeying toward Jerusalem and to his sufferings, death, and
resurrection. We learn much from the Book of Wisdom by taking the positive
verses and applying them to ourselves while leaving aside those that are
downright sinful plottings on the part of the unwise.
The Psalm, as is often the case, knits the readings together and helps us
pray about them with words that fit the scenes of both Wisdom and John this
day. “Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord
The theme of the “hour” is mentioned in today’s reading from John. It is an
important theme word for the theology of John which sees the suffering,
death, and resurrection implied in the mention of “hour” within his Gospel.
Jesus is making progress in his mission through these Paschal Mysteries of
suffering, death, and ultimate resolution of them in his resurrection. We
first heard of the “hour” at Cana where Mary his mother hears it for the
first time. It is also placed at key passages throughout the first part of
the Gospel and reaches its apex at the scene at the foot of the Cross.
Mary is again present at this most solemn “hour.” Here are the important
passages: John 2:4; 7:30 (today’s reading), 12:20, and 13:1. And the
supreme text is at the Cross where Mary participates with her son’s
suffering and death (John 19:25-28A). We pray with this text in mind,
“Pray for us sinners now and at the “hour” of our death and we hope and
pray that Mary will be there in our final struggles. The founder of the
Marianists, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade whose 250th anniversary of his
birth is today, April 8th, encouraged and wished his Marianist Family to
pray the “Three O’Clock Prayer” while even knelling on a Friday. In this
prayer we join with the Beloved Disciple John and Mary in the spirit of
this prayer which is a modern interpretation of the hour of Jesus. Amen.