Jeremiah and Jesus have much in common in the reaction of leaders and others against them. They share in sufferings, rejections, and persecution from those who would not accept a prophet in their own country. We hear Jeremiah’s prayer for help from God who called him to be a prophet. He has become aware that there is even a plot to kill him. Jesus is experiencing the same threat, but his hour has not yet come.
John gives us the background for the opponents of Jesus in today’s pericope. Jesus does not speak or act in this selection, but we learn about those who are ready to apprehend him and even threaten his life. There are some who are puzzled. Is he the Messiah. But then we know where the Messiah will come from—Bethlehem, but he is from Galilee. John uses irony to show how many think they know who Jesus is but really do not. This carries through especially in chapters 7-12.
Nicodemus who is central to chapter three wants the Sanhedrin to judge a person justly and certainly this includes Jesus, but the leaders are not interested in his suggestion and even taunt him. In some ways, Nicodemus is a secret disciple of Jesus. He will appear again in chapter nineteen and will provide for the burial of Jesus.
Storm clouds of suffering and persecution are gathering for Jesus just as they did for Jeremiah. Soon Jesus will be apprehended, beaten, and put to death by crucifixion. During this part of Lent we are led to focus on the mystery of his sufferings and death. We may wish to understand our own sufferings through our meditation on his and thereby realize “we have not shed any blood” in our sufferings. He has shed blood so that we might be free from our sins. We are led to pray that we may take up our own cross each day and do the Father’s will as Jesus did. Holy Week is coming fast upon us. Carpe Diem…we seize the day to follow Jesus all the way to the cross. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.