Day 38: Friday of 5th week of Lent

Pavement indicating the imprint of the foot of Jesus

JESUS WITH US  

 

  1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings

1.1.  First Reading: The Book of the prophet Jeremiah 20: 10-13

1.2.  Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St John 10: 31-42

1.3.  Simple Comment: The prophet Jeremiah predicts the traps to be set on Jesus and the denunciations to be hurled at him. These actually will occur but so too what the prophet states at the end of the passage: “But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion; my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.” In the Gospel Jesus asserts this when he says with assurance and great confidence: “The Father is in me and I in him.”

 

  1. Monument: Church of the Ascension on Mount of Olives

2.1.  We return to the Mount of Olives (sometimes later called Mount Olivet) to visit the traditionally held site of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. To enter the area of the Ascension is to pass, first through a wall and then to pass through the door of a small building into a single room which is famous for a rough piece of rock in an otherwise smooth floor. Claims are made that we can even yet see the imprint of one of Jesus’ feet on his rock.

2.2.  The present building dates from the eleventh or twelfth century, and has over the centuries been used as a mosque. To get a true idea of the Ascension area, one must imaginatively remove the building and the wall which surrounds it, so as to stand in open air.

 

  1. Lenten Reflection

3.1.  During the whole Lenten season we have been describing the life and ministry of Jesus. In the process we got to listen to his preaching and to recall the many miracles he performed. We remembered the faith significance of both words and deeds of Jesus.

3.2.  Yet all these were just to bring us to the reality of our day: he lives, yes, he lives! And because he lives, we relate with him, we profess our faith in him, we put our hope in his promises, we follow his example of love, we obey his life-demands, we become his disciples. While we believe that he has risen from the dead, and has ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father, we also testify to his presence in our midst. This we do when we hold true to his word and allow ourselves to be his instruments in reaching out to others who still need to know him, to others who still lack the awareness that they are beloved of God, to others who despair for lack of care and concern from their fellows. What Jesus left to his apostles on the day of his ascension, today we his Church make known and present. We are assured of triumph in this mission because He abides with us, as we abide in him!

 

  1. Contemporary Filipino Question: Our usual Filipino term for Church is simbahan. More often than not it is reductive in meaning – the edifice or building we go to. Instead we could use a term with greater pregnant meaning of what a Church truly is: sambahayan! It contains the words samba meaning worship, also bahay meaning home or family, as well as bayan meaning society or community. But the term also has the shortened form of isa in sam meaning one or unity. Put together, we have a true picture of what the Church is: a community made one in worship! This communion of persons is possible because Jesus is present in our midst (where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst!); nay more, because Jesus prays with us, for us and in us (through him, with him and in him all glory and honor are yours Almighty Father!). This is the true reality of his resurrection.