Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Last Days of Lent

We're just one week from the end of Lent. You may have noticed that since Sunday the Mass readings have been getting progressively darker. The clouds are definitely gathering over Calvary. Today's Gospel is no exception: the last sentence reads "So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area."

But there's something else in today's reading that struck me (and it wasn't a rock!). John's gospel has a way of repeating something three times in quick succession. There are two repeated phrases in today's nine verses: the first is "keep my/my Father's word": "Whoever keeps my word will never see death," Jesus declares. And his listeners throw the words back at him, "Abraham died, as did the prophets, but you say, 'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death." A few verses later, Jesus uses the same expression, but this time he is the one keeping the word, the Father's word: "I do know him and I keep his word."

That introduces the second repeated theme: I know him (the Father).

Both of these themes will come back in the "Farewell Discourse" at the Last Supper. "Keeping my word" will become "keep my commandments (as I have kept my Father's commandments...)"; knowing the Father will become, "If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

We are well on our way to Easter.

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