Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent | April 9, 2022

The promise of the first reading from Ezekiel is of how God will gather the Chosen People back together, undoing the divisions that broke them apart and sent them into exile. God promises to guide them as a just and righteous leader.

And the psalm also speaks of the promise of God as a shepherd watching over the flock.

Finally, the Gospel is indirectly about Jesus fulfilling that promise of God for us, as John presents the debate in the Jewish leadership group – the Sanhedrin.

Caiaphas, the high priest, says it is better for Jesus to die than for all of the country to be destroyed.

The Jewish authorities – many of whom are aligned with the occupying Romans – worry that Jesus’ message about God’s reign will get them into trouble with the Romans. Out of fear, they thus set in motion the terrible plot to destroy him.

But we know that Jesus is not deterred. Even as we begin Holy Week tomorrow, we know the end of the story – that Jesus – crucified because of our sins – is our shepherd – leading the way for us into new and eternal life.

It is the profound wisdom of God that a plot to destroy Jesus became the means by which Jesus is able to show all of us – for all time – how to love in the face of hatred, and how God’s power is always greater. Such important messages of the Gospel for our own times!

Jesus would die – or rather be killed – and destruction is averted, but not in the way Caiaphas imagined. Rather the people of Israel and ALL the dispersed children of God are being gathered into one spiritual family.

This is why we dare to call the week that is marked by the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ “holy,” and the Friday on which he died “Good.” We understand that even in painful and difficult times – even times when we may feel or seem utterly defeated and helpless – God is at work turning the tables and preparing to fulfill the promises made in Christ!

In the days of Holy Week, we can see an upside-down world being turned right-side up!

Let us pray for the vision to see beyond the brokenness in our own lives and in our world to that promise which God has set in motion for all of us through the saving life, passion, death and resurrection of Christ!

God give you peace!