Biblical meditation: Do we hear the voice of God?

Sunday May 8, 2022, fourth Sunday of Easter, four texts will be read.
First reading Book of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13, 14.43-52).
Psalm 99.
Second Reading Book of Revelation (Rev 7, 9.14b-17).
The Gospel according to Saint John (Jn 10, 27-30).

Jeans 10, 20-30

Many of them said, “He’s got a demon, he’s delirious.” Why are you listening to it? »
Others said: “These words are not those of a possessed person… Could a demon open the eyes of the blind? »
Then came the feast of the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. It was winter.
Jesus walked back and forth in the Temple, under Solomon’s colonnade.
The Jews formed a circle around him; they said to him: “How long are you going to keep us going? If you are the Christ, tell us openly! »
Jesus answered them:
“I told you, and you don’t believe it. The works that I do, I, in the name of my Father,
this is what testifies to me.
But you, you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life: they will never perish,
and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can snatch them out of the hand of the Father.
The Father and I are “one”. »

The feast of the dedication of the Temple, what is it?

Perhaps you have a somewhat confused memory of Judas Maccabee (168-160 BCE) where this Sunday’s excerpts come from. He was, however, an essential figure in the history of the Jewish people. He succeeded his father, the priest Mattathias, the first leader of the revolt against the power of Syria by King Antiochos IV and against the Hellenization of the cult. Judas, his son, also a high priest, challenged the Syrian generals. He retook Jerusalem, allowing the restoration of the Temple to be cleansed and restored to the worship of the true God. The Jewish Feast of Dedication (New Dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem) still commemorates this heroic event today.

“If you are the Christ, say so”

This is what the people celebrate when this Gospel scene begins. So it is very legitimate for the Jews to question Jesus, even to harass him: “If you are the Christ, say so. » Because if he is truly the Messiah, the very concrete sign must be the purification of the country from the Roman occupiers, as Judas Maccabee had done with the Syrians. Otherwise, he is an impostor, even a demon.

Perhaps it is for this reason that, some time before, it was to a Samaritan woman, and not to the Jews, that Jesus revealed who he is (“I am, the Messiah, I who speak to you” (John 4, 26). The Samaritans were considered foreigners and heretics. The Pharisees refused to speak to them. The Samaritan woman has her heart and ears open and can receive revelation from Jesus. She doesn’t have a ready-made religious schema that would cause interference, tinnitus in some way! For us today, let’s take care of our interior tinnitus if we wish to recognize the crucified Messiah and to be of his people, of his flock.

God is there, in the hollow of our helplessness

To come to the aid of his opponents, Jesus suggests that they look at his works and not his title. Are they talking about life or death? Hospitality or confinement? But they do not want to see and prefer their ideologies to the disturbing, overwhelming encounter with Jesus. So they can neither hear nor listen to the voice.

But to those who recognize the accent of God in his voice, Jesus promises that their lives will be recorded for eternity. Their name, their face, their stories, what will have made their flesh will remain in the heart of God forever. Nothing and no one can snatch them from the intimacy of the Father and the Son. Nothing can uproot us from the love of our God. Including when it seems so far from our tears, from our anxieties. We don’t know where he is; even less what he does. But it is there, in the hollow of our very impotence. The inhabitant of his tenderness.

Inadmissible acts for those who believe they hold the true God

This is why Father and Son are “one”. Not “one” of confusion where one would be lost in the other, caught up, eliminated. “One”, in the sense that none loses its own identity. But this revelation cannot suit the zealous Pharisees who are there: How can a man dare to say that he is in the intimacy of the Father to the point of making One with him? Angry (for the fifth time in the Gospel of John), they make death threats and want to stone him. Proclaiming a crucified Messiah through his unfailing commitment to the little ones, those who are said to be far away, and to heal, nourish, raise, restore are inadmissible acts for those who believe they jealously hold the truth, and the truth of God.

Our imagination represents the Good Shepherd in green bucolic pastures. But it is nothing. The words of Jesus are scandalous. Today. We are not following a self-proclaimed Messiah, nor a religious warlord. We follow Christ who comes from the depths of time, from eternity, from the heart of the living God. He invites us to recognize his unique voice that brings life. That no one can appropriate.

Veronique Marron, Provincial Prioress of the Dominicans of the Presentation and President of the Conference of Religious of France. She teaches at the Faculty of Theology of Angers. She has notably published theFailure crossed (DDB), Fidelity-infidelity. lively question (Deer) and A moment of truth (Albin Michel).

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Biblical meditation: Do we hear the voice of God?

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