Saturday 4th Week of Lent
Jeremiah 11:18-20 John 7:40-53
The WORD in Other Words by Fr Louie Punzalan SVD (Philippines)
What is the meaning of the idiom “different strokes for different folks”? It means everybody is different; no two people are alike. There‘s more than one way to skin a cat. Different things please different people; different people interpret the world differently.
When the people saw Jesus attending the Festival of Booths there were different reactions. There was the reaction of the crowd who said, “This is truly the Prophet… He is the Anointed One.”
Some opined that Jesus must be the prophet Moses; others said Jesus must be the Messiah. They wanted to arrest Jesus and had come back without arresting him because never in their lives had they heard anybody speak as Jesus did. “Never before has anyone spoken like this one.”
There was the reaction of the chief priests and the Pharisees who said that only the ignorant and the naive accepted Jesus, “Why did you not bring him? Have you also been deceived?”
Finally, there was the reaction of Nicodemus who asked, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” Give Jesus a fair trial, or at least the benefit of the doubt. He should be considered innocent until he is proven guilty. But it was a timid reaction because Nicodemus did not really defend Jesus directly.
In these reactions we see a shadow of the different reactions of the people of our time. There are still the proud and the self-serving who are only concerned with themselves, their power and money, their position and popularity, and nothing else besides.
There are still the timid and the uncommitted who vaguely accept Jesus and is message but who are kept back by doubts and fears.
There are still the ordinary people, the “motley crowd” who believe and defend the message of Jesus and follow him. This is the community of believers. This is the church, the people of God.