Spend Your Life for Love

For 31 March 2023, Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent, based on John 10:31-42

(Photo by Bexar Arms on Unsplash

The [people] picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The [people] answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”’?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.


Early on Monday, I was almost incredulous to learn that one out of twenty people in my country, the United States, owns an AR-15-style military assault gun. A few hours later, I realized that two of these guns were used to kill three children and three adults at a school in Nashville. The 28-year-old shooter also was shot to death with a police gun.
Lots of guns, and seven people dead, in a Christian school; in a country with 120 guns per 100 persons in the population and more than one mass shooting a day so far in 2023. I heard a commentator say the people of the United States love guns more than their children. But make no mistake: this is not love.
Today’s gospel portrays the tension between the good deeds of Christ and a people who are unable to hear Jesus say, “The Father and I are one.” When the people call Jesus a blasphemer, Jesus replies with the elusive statement, “Is it not written in Scripture that you are gods?” We pray this same sentiment in the Mass when water is poured into the wine: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” I think this is Scripture’s way of saying, Align yourself with God, participate with your one precious life in God’s love, and act steadfastly with love. Be one in love with God, who is love, and one in love with God’s people, God’s beloved. Our God, in today’s reading from the prophet Jeremiah lovingly rescues the life of the poor from the power of the wicked.
In the days ahead, the liturgy brings us to the foot of the cross. In a world where love is blasphemed, the cross remains a scandal. Jesus was known by his deeds of love and spent his life as Love Incarnate, and so must we.
A world torn with violence can find redemption and healing only when good people choose love, expect love, demand love, and turn acts of violence inside out with a unified commitment to love in action. Spend your life for love.

Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.