“Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
Falling in love with God and placing oneself in God’s service opens us to the possibility of ruffling some feathers. Jesus spoke the truth—He was the Truth—and He, as we see in today’s Gospel, had some people standing with Him and some people standing against Him. All the more, we, as human beings—without such a secure grasp of truth—are bound to stir up consternation when we strive to walk the path of righteousness (however humbly we do so).
Many a Xaverian could tell you a story about ruffling some feathers while trying to do what was needed and what was right. And one such story is that of the Brothers and the Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1917. Because the Sisters were African American women, they were unable to secure the proper credentials to teach. In those days Mount Saint Joseph’s was an accredited College, and Brothers Isidore Kuppel and Simeon Jolivet covertly organized a summer school program for the Sisters that would help them earn a teaching credential. Brother Simeon died only a few years later, but Brother Bede Rouse helped conduct the classes until 1926.
In following the Xaverian way—the Way of Jesus—we mustn’t lose out to the fear of upsetting the given order of things. Like Jesus, the Brothers, through their actions spoke in a way that wasn’t being spoken in their time. When we fall in love with God we gain the courage to—like Brothers Isidore, Simeon, and Bede—place ourselves in God’s service, the service of Truth.
Recall that you are in the presence of God.
Slowly and intentionally read today’s Gospel, John 7:40-53:
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.
So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
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 man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Then each went to his own house.
Remember a time that you have felt challenged to see something differently. How did you react? Was your initial reaction fear? Resistance? Or were you able to respond to the challenge in a thoughtful and discerning way?
How would you have reacted to Jesus in His day? Are you ready to take up His challenge today?
God of Love and Compassion, we ask that you give us sight, so that we can see the world through your eyes. We ask for ears to hear your call to service and the hands to do your will. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.