Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Jesus is the Lord

Some in the crowd who heard these words said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But others said, “The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not scripture say that the Messiah will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd… Some of them even wanted to arrest him …The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this one.” So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?   But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”  Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” Jn 7,40-51

Since a number of years, during the morning prayer, we ponder on who Jesus of Nazareth is for us: it is a question which rebounds in the history all along for two thousand years.  This was the question for the first disciples and the people of Palestine; this was the question for Pilate when, as the judge, was confronted by; this was the question for the Roman centurion in front of the cross; this has been the question for billions of people who, over the centuries, have been reached by the message of the gospel. The truth is only one, but the responses are always personal: we also gave different answers over the years. Once Maria Letizia, still a child, replied that, for her, Jesus was the third parent. Today, after years of prayer and of a route together, after seeing the miracles in our lives and having experienced the continuous intervention of the Providence, who has reached us, one day after another, to the question “Who is Jesus of Nazareth for you?” the most comprehensive answer we can give is: “Jesus is the Lord”. It is the shout of Peter on the  lake of Tiberias, when, after the crucifixion of Jesus, he sadly returned to fish. “It is the Lord”  Peter shouted as soon as he saw him on the beach. And by that exclamation the most beautiful memories and the hope for again a free and glorious life for him have been relighted. “Jesus is the Lord” was the incessant announcement of father Thomas Beck in his later years. One day he was invited, in Australia, to take some lessons to the prayer groups and communities of the Charismatic Renewal. I accompanied him to the airport and, by the next weeks, I occasionally phoned to my friend Brian Smith, Head of Charismatic Renewal in Oceania, to be informed about the echoes of his catechesis. “Here – Brian said to me – people understand that Jesus is the Lord”. When father Tom came back, I went to the airport to welcome him and, on the way by car to bring him home, I told him: “You know, father Tom, our friend Brian said that by your catechesis people have learned that Jesus is the Lord”. “Then they have understood everything” said father Tom and he smiled happily. 

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