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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 31

It is the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, and Jesus decides to go, “not openly, but as it were in secret.” Some of the people who heard him speaking were puzzled. “Is he the Messiah? He can’t be; we know where he is from.” 

According to popular belief, the Messiah was supposed to burst upon the scene mysteriously. No mystery here. The people react somewhat like the “wicked” in today’s first reading: He “boasts that God is his father . . . Let us condemn him to a shameful death.”

The choice the people faced is, in a sense, still before us. Many Jews today see Jesus as an admirable Jew but not the Son of God. Others see him as a great prophet. We recognize him as the Son of God. 

As Pope John Paul II said, “Christ is absolutely original and absolutely unique. If he were only a wise man like Socrates, if he were a prophet like Muhammad, if he were enlightened like Buddha, without doubt he would not be what he is” (quoted in Newsweek, March  27, 2000). 

What we said to the Father in our morning prayer, we might as well say to Christ: “May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways.” 

Father Philip Dabney, C.Ss.R.

Scripture readings for today: Wisdom 2:1, 12-22; Psalm 34; John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30