Day 31: Friday of 4th week of Lent

Column in the Upper Room with marble engraving of the pelican mother feeding her children from her breast

THE COMING HOUR OF JESUS

 

  1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings

1.1.  First Reading: The Book of Wisdom 2: 1,12-22

1.2.  Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St John 7: 1-2,10,25-30

1.3.  Simple Comment: The Old Testament reading gives a scenario so alike to what happened to Jesus: “Let us beset the just one because he is obnoxious to us; he reproaches us … he professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the Lord.” In today’s Gospel there was the attempt to seize Jesus because of his teachings and his claims as he who was sent by God – “the One who has the right to send.” Some of the Jews were in fact looking for a chance to kill him, but then “no one laid a finger on him because his hour had not yet come.”

 

  1. Monument: The Upper Room or The Cenacle

2.1.  The three Synoptic Gospels speak of an upper room which Jesus asked his disciples to prepare in order to celebrate together the Feast of the Passover. Since the time of the Crusades (11th century), a site at the southern wall of today’s Jerusalem is considered to be this Upper Room.

2.2.  In this simple room, which the practiced eye can see has been used as a mosque, took place two other very important events for Christianity: Jesus’ appearances to his disciples after the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on about one hundred and twenty of Jesus’ followers – the Pentecost!

2.3.  In one column supporting a decorative cupola the figure of the pelican is exquisitely carved in marble stone. Many point at this figure as representing the ultimate act of love of Jesus which he spoke about during the Last Supper inside this Cenacle. The pelican is shown as feeding her children from the flesh of her own breast – just like when Jesus took bread and said: “This is my Body; take and eat of it.”

 

  1. Lenten Reflection

3.1.  Slowly but surely our pilgrimage leads us to the final earthly days of Jesus. While the Gospel speaks of attempts to his life, this does not happen circumstantially. Jesus is not one who is caught in a trap set before him by his opponents; rather he freely walks to his death, that is, he willingly offers his life! He once said in the Gospel of St John: “No one takes my life away from me; I give it freely.”

3.2.  Jesus calls us to follow him and his way leads us to the cross. The cross is not something he hides from us; over and over again he presents this openly to us when he states: “Whoever wishes to be my follower must take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Or in another place: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains but a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it bears fruit.” Our Christian commitment is not a walk-in-the-park; any Christian state of life committed by vow like marriage, the priesthood, and the religious life has its own forms of the cross: conjugal fidelity, priestly and religious celibacy, responsible parenthood, active evangelization and catechesis, proactive work for justice and peace in society, visitation of the sick and those in prison.

 

  1. Contemporary Filipino Question: Sipag at tiyaga is a Filipino adage, born of age-old tradition and experience. By this saying we adhere that no true success comes without its share of sweat and tears. We know that our forefathers gave us a hard-earned freedom. Come to think of it, most of them were mere young men who sacrificed their future: Jose Rizal died at the age of 36, Emilio Aguinaldo took the helm when he was but 24 years old, so too the hero and martyr of Tirad Pass, Gregorio del Pilar. Do we still find idealism among our youth? Should we not blame ourselves for the loss of idealism and patriotism in our land because we wish to reap more than what we sow?