GOSPEL | JOHN 5:19-24
“The Father . . . shows [the Son] all that he himself is doing…” (v.20)
19 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. 20 The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. 21 Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. 22 The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
I am a student by vocation: I love learning, and I excel in the classroom – it’s my natural habitat. Jesus begins here saying, “Very truly, I tell you;” but telling isn’t enough. We also need to be shown. What strikes me is that Jesus himself needs to be shown by the Father. Jesus is willing himself to submit to being led by his Father! Just as Jesus sees what his Father is doing, Lent is about our following Christ to the cross, where we see the love of God shown, rather than hear it told.“…and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.” (v.20)
The gospel text today does not tell me that it’s my job to show! (I think my job is partly to show, but certainly not to the same degree that Jesus did.) Jesus is the one who first sees, and then shows us, God’s love. We are invited, I will repeat it, to “Come and see” (John 1:29). It’s not about my words, sadly. In Lent, I have to give up all my aptitude for telling, and first open my eyes to see, and put my body where my words would be, following after Christ, knowing that the cross is where we’re headed.