The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us…
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes. (Wis 2:12a,17-18)
While Jesus was being persecuted immediately before His crucifixion, several people struck Him and said, “Play the prophet. Tell us who struck you.”
Even then, the people were testing Jesus.
The sad reality, however, is that all the testing in the world would not have amounted to anything.
They treated Jesus as they had done with the vast majority of prophets. There were putting Him to death.
What if Jesus would have taken them up on their taunts. “Play the prophet. Tell us who struck you.” “Okay. You’re Simon, son of Hilkiah. You’re Aaron, son of Boaz. You’re…”
Oh, their eyes may have popped and their jaws may have dropped; but, when all was said and done, Jesus would still have been on that cross because they had decided long before to denounce Him and to be rid of Him.
Because Jesus was doing the same thing that we read about in the Book of Wisdom. He was being “obnoxious” to the people by reminding them of their sinfulness.
Jesus knew His people. He knew them well. And, because He loved them so much, He challenged them to do better, to renounce sin and embrace the will of God. Yet, that invitation from the Lord was something that did not interest them because it would mean that they would have to change, some of them radically.
So far, this meditation has been safe because I have been saying “they” and “them”. However, I believe you know where this is going: the same holds for “you” and “me”.
Jesus is calling us to change. He has sent prophets into our world, even this day, to bring His word to us. Sometimes, those prophets get on our nerves because they are calling us to a radically different way of life and we may prefer our comfortable lives, even if they are lives steeped in sin.
Sin is going to get us nowhere. Sin will only separate us from God. What will get us somewhere is God’s grace and our renunciation of sin.
FAITH ACTION: Do we know a modern day prophet? Someone who attempts to do good yet is put down by all? Have we, too, put that person down? This is the day to lend support to the one who is doing right, who is doing good, yet is persecuted for it.
Remember, the Fridays of Lent are Days of Abstinence.