The Struggle Continues

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”
(John 15:18-21)

Scripture Study

15:18–19. Jesus states that there can be no compromise between him and the world, the kingdom of sin: anyone who lives in sin abhors the light (cf. Jn 3:19–20). This is why Christ is persecuted, and why the apostles will be in their turn. “The hostility of the perverse sounds like praise for our life”, St Gregory says, “because it shows that we have at least some rectitude if we are an annoyance to those who do not love God; no one can be pleasing to God and to God’s enemies at the same time. He who seeks to please those who oppose God is no friend of God; and he who submits himself to the truth will fight against those who strive against the truth” (In Ezechielem homiliae, 9).

15:20 The word I spoke to you: a reference to Jn 13:16.

15:21 On account of my name: the idea of persecution for Jesus’ name is frequent in the New Testament (Mt 10:22; 24:9; Acts 9:14). For John, association with Jesus’ name implies union with Jesus.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel balances our Easter joy with the warning of danger from a society opposed to God: “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”

It is altogether appropriate that, during this Easter season, we rejoice. The Lord is risen; he is truly risen. Jesus Christ is Lord. God is King. Sin and death have been defeated. All of that is true and remains centrally important during this season.

At the same time, we must not succumb to a “cheap grace” interpretation of Christianity, whereby Christ is risen and all is well. As Julian of Norwich said, “All will be well, all manner of things will be well.” Notice the future tense. The definitive battle has been won, but the war continues. The struggle is ongoing.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Love – Love – Love

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”
(John 15:12-17)

Scripture Study

15:13 For one’s friends: or: “those whom one loves.” In Jn 15:9–13a, the words for love are related to the Greek agapaō. In Jn 15:13b–15, the words for love are related to the Greek phileō. For John, the two roots seem synonymous and mean “to love”; cf. also Jn 21:15–17. The word philos is used here.

15:15 Slaves … friends: in the Old Testament, Moses (Dt 34:5), Joshua (Jos 24:29), and David (Ps 89:21) were called “servants” or “slaves of Yahweh”; only Abraham (Is 41:8; 2 Chr 20:7; cf. Jas 2:23) was called a “friend of God.”

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel instructs us in the way of loving others with God’s love. The whole of the Christian life is on display here: God is love. In other words, God is a self-emptying gift on behalf of the other. But this means, paradoxically, that to have God is to be what God is—and that means giving one’s life away.

Now we see the link which Jesus suggests between joy and commandment: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” Now we begin to understand the laws, commands, and demands of the Church. All are designed to make us more adept at giving ourselves away—more adept at love.

Don’t steal; don’t kill; don’t covet your neighbor’s goods or wife; honor your mother and father; worship God. All of these commands—positive and negative—are meant to awaken and make possible love.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Saving Grace

After much debate had taken place,
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters,
“My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth
the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe.
And God, who knows the heart,
bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit
just as he did us.
He made no distinction between us and them,
for by faith he purified their hearts.
Why, then, are you now putting God to the test
by placing on the shoulders of the disciples
a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”
The whole assembly fell silent,
and they listened
while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders
God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded,
“My brothers, listen to me.
Symeon has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

After this I shall return
and rebuild the fallen hut of David;
from its ruins I shall rebuild it
and raise it up again,
so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord,
even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.
Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,
known from of old.

It is my judgment, therefore,
that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols,
unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
For Moses, for generations now,
has had those who proclaim him in every town,
as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath.”
(Acts 15:7-21)

Scripture Study

15:11 we believe: Peter speaks as the head and spokesman of the apostolic Church. He formulates a doctrinal judgment about the means of salvation, whereas James takes the floor after him to suggest a pastoral plan for inculturating the gospel in mixed communities where Jewish and Gentile believers live side by side (15:13–21).

15:13 James: A close relative of Jesus (Gal 1:19) who became the leader of the Jerusalem Church after Peter first fled the city and began to travel.

15:14 Symeon: The original Semitic name of Peter transliterated into Greek (Heb. Shime‘on, Gen 29:33). It is used of him only here and in the Greek text of 2 Pet 1:1.

15:20 write to them: James sets forth a pastoral initiative to promote fellowship and preempt foreseeable friction between Jewish and Gentile believers coming together in the Church. The result is an apostolic letter from Jerusalem to the Churches in Syria and Cilicia that requires Gentile converts to observe a minimal code of religious purity—abstinence from idol foods, sexual immorality, and the consumption of blood in meat or by itself (15:23–29). The Jews abhorred these practices as cultural expressions of idolatry. James is saying that even though the Gentiles are exempt from the ritual observances of Judaism (circumcision), they are still expected to break away from the ritual observances of paganism. Allusions to this decree appear in 1 Cor 8–10, 1 Thess 4:3, and Rev 2:14, 20. ● According to the Council of Florence in 1442, the apostolic decree was only a temporary measure to facilitate unity among Jews and Gentiles in the early Church. The binding force of its food restrictions was relaxed once the ethnic circumstances that made them necessary passed away.

Scripture Reflection

Once again, Peter is a decisive factor in Church unity. Not only does he draw together all the various legitimate views of those trying to reach the truth on this occasion: he points out where the truth lies. Relying on his personal experience (what God directed him to do in connection with the baptism of Cornelius: cf. chap. 10), Peter sums up the discussion and offers a solution which coincides with St Paul’s view of the matter: it is grace and not the Law that saves, and therefore circumcision and the Law itself have been superseded by faith in Jesus Christ. Peter’s argument is not based on the severity of the Old Law or the practical difficulties Jews experience in keeping it; his key point is that the Law of Moses has become irrelevant now that the Gospel has been proclaimed the Law is not necessary for salvation: he does not accept that it is necessary to obey the Law in order to be saved. Whether one can or should keep the Law for other reasons is a different and secondary matter.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Supernatural Life

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
(John 15:1-8)

Scripture Study

The metaphor of the vine underscores Jesus’ union with the disciples and their absolute dependency on him for life and growth. It assumes that because the vinedresser (the Father) seeks an abundant harvest, he trims back the vine stock (Jesus) to rid it of fruitless branches (apostates) and to invigorate the other branches (disciples) to become even more fruitful. ● The delivery of this sermon during the Last Supper gives it a sacramental coloring. Note how the invitation to “abide” in Christ (15:4–5) picks up a theme from the Bread of Life discourse (6:56) and how the Synoptic Gospels make an explicit link between the “fruit of the vine” and the eucharistic meal (Mt 26:29; Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18) (CCC 787).

15:2 he prunes: The Father must trim away our selfishness to increase our growth in love. Pruning probably refers to the trials and fatherly discipline we experience in this life (Heb 12:5–11; Jas 1:2–4; 1 Pet 1:6–7).

15:5 bears much fruit: The fruits of righteousness are borne in us by the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23; CCC 737). Without this life-giving sap, which flows into the branches through the vine, we can do absolutely nothing to please the Father or move closer to salvation (CCC 308, 2074).

15:6 thrown into the fire: Damnation awaits every branch that withers away from Christ and becomes worthless (Mt 3:10; Heb 6:4–8). ● Ezekiel similarly described the residents of Jerusalem as vine branches that failed to yield fruit and so became fuel for the fires of divine judgment (Ezek 15:1–8). Vines, the prophet reasoned, are useless to the craftsman as wood and thus have no value apart from the grapes they bear.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel passage today is from the beautiful, evocative, and challenging fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel. Jesus declares that he is the vine and we are the branches. He is the power and energy source in which we live. This image is closely related to Paul’s metaphor of the body of Christ.

The point is that we live in him and he in us. Jesus is the source of supernatural life in us, and without him, we would have none of it. If, therefore, you are separated from the vine, you will die spiritually, you will stop living a supernatural life. What does this look like concretely, to be attached to the vine? It means a steady immersion in the prayer of the Church. It means steady communion with God, speaking to him on a regular basis. It means an immersion in the Scriptures, soaking in the truth of the Bible. It means engaging in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

And, of course, it means you must participate in the sacraments—especially confession and the Eucharist. By the sacraments, we stay close to the Christ who forgives our sins and who enlivens our spirits.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

My Peace I Give You

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
(John 14:27-31)

Scripture Study

14:27 my peace: Not worldly peace, which is often procured by violence and is always unstable, but a spiritual serenity that comforts us regardless of our outward circumstances.

14:28 the Father is greater: The Son is equal to the Father in his divinity but less than the Father in his humanity. ● Although no one of the Divine Persons exceeds the others in greatness or glory in the eternal Trinity, there is a relational hierarchy among them, where, unlike the Son and the Spirit, the Father alone possesses divine Paternity and has the distinction of being entirely without origin.

14:31 I love the Father: This is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus verbalizes his love for the Father. The fact is never in doubt, however, since his every deed is done to honor the Father (8:29; 15:10), and he will soon make a loving gift of himself to the Father on the Cross (15:13) (CCC 606). ● Christ reveals through his humanity the mystery of his divinity. The life and death of Jesus are thus a visible expression of the invisible life of the Trinity, where the Son eternally pours himself out in love to the Father.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us an antidote for fear. Whom or what are you afraid of? That is a very important spiritual question. One way to understand our life is to look at those things that we seek: wealth, power, privilege, honor, pleasure, friendship. But another way is to turn that question around and determine what or who it is that we fear.

We might fear the loss of material things, the loss of a job, the loss of physical health, the loss of the esteem of others, the loss of personal intimacy, and ultimately, the loss of life itself. We are afraid of many things, but I’d be willing to bet that there is a primary or principal fear. What is it for you?

Now after identifying that, listen to Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Any and all of the things that we customarily fear—loss of money, fame, pleasure, and power—have to do with this world. What Jesus is saying is that we should not let those fears come to dominate or define our lives, for he is with us—and with him, his peace.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Advocate

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name—
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”
(John 14:21-26)

Scripture Study 

14:22 Judas (not Iscariot): Presumably “Judas the son of James” (Lk 6:16), also called “Thaddaeus” (Mt 10:3).

14:23 our home with him: Through grace the living presence of the Trinity inhabits the hearts of the faithful (14:17; Gal 2:20). From John’s perspective, God dwells in the saints on earth before the saints dwell in God in heaven (14:2–3; Rev 21:22; CCC 260).

14:26 the Holy Spirit: Sent from heaven to complete the teaching ministry of Jesus and give the apostles an accurate understanding of the gospel (16:12–13). The Spirit also works through the sacraments to renew the world with the graces and blessings that Christ died to give us (3:5; 6:63; 20:22–23) (CCC 243, 729) teach you … bring to your remembrance: The terms “you” and “your” in this verse are plural. It is thus a promise to guide and instruct the ordained leaders of the Church, here represented by the eleven apostles. It is not a promise that the Spirit will grant every individual Christian supernatural insight into the full meaning of the gospel or the Scriptures (2 Pet 1:20–21).

Scripture Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to inspire, strengthen, and defend his followers. Speaking to his disciples the night before he dies, Jesus tells them that he and his Father will send another Parakletos. The word, from kaleo (to call) and para (for, or on behalf of) designates something like an advocate, a lawyer, someone who would plead on behalf of another, who would support, advocate, and encourage.

Jesus will depart physically from the scene, but he and his Father will send their Spirit as a friend. This is the supporter, the advocate who will inspire Christians up and down the ages.

When the martyrs went to their deaths, it was with the help of the Holy Spirit; when the missionaries went to proclaim the faith in hostile lands, it was the Holy Spirit who pleaded on their behalf; when Michelangelo painted the Sistine Ceiling, it was the Holy Spirit who lifted him up; when Thomas Aquinas wrote his theological masterpieces, it was at the prompting of the Advocate. What is the Advocate prompting you to do today?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Icon of the Invisible God

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
(John 14:1-12)

Scripture Study

14:1 Let not your hearts: Jesus wants to protect his disciples from despair at his death and from discouragement when persecution comes their way (14:27; 16:33). Only the peace of God that surpasses understanding can calm their anxieties (Phil 4:6–7).

14:2 my Father’s house: A similar expression is used in 2:16 for the Jerusalem Temple, hinting that the Father’s house is a heavenly sanctuary (Rev 21:22) perched high above in the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:26; Rev 21:1). This is the eternal dwelling where the glorified angels and saints worship the Lord in the eternal liturgy (Heb 12:22–24; Rev 4–5) (CCC 2795). many rooms: Similar to the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem, which had several courts for worship, chambers for storage, and living quarters for priests.

14:6 I am the way: A claim to be the sole Savior of the world (Acts 4:12). He is the one mediator chosen by the Father to bring the human family to glory. Earlier Jesus made this claim when he compared himself to Jacob’s ladder (1:51) (CCC 661, 2466).

14:9 has seen the Father: Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), his human flesh (1:14) being an icon of divine spirit (4:24). Through faith we see how Christ’s entire life shows us the heart of the Father and his love for the world (3:16; 5:19–23; CCC 516).

14:13 Whatever you ask: The Ascension of Jesus will not be his retirement, since even now he lives to make priestly intercession for the Church on earth (Heb 7:25; 9:24). I will do it: A promise to grant whatever is needed to facilitate our salvation (Mt 7:7–11). To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray that the Father will bless us through him (Jn 16:23–24; CCC 2614, 2615).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in our Gospel passage today, Jesus once again explains his union with the Father. The disciples are gathered around Jesus at the Last Supper, abiding in intimacy with him, asking questions and seeking wisdom. Listen to Jesus’ words: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Later, Paul picks up on this idea when he refers to Jesus as the “icon of the invisible God.”

In these accounts, we sense the humility of the Logos. Jesus says, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.” Neither the words nor the deeds of Jesus are his own. They are received from the Father. The Trinitarian theological tradition respects this when it speaks of the Son as the interior word of the father and as having received everything from the Father.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Way

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:1-6)

Scripture Study

14:1 Let not your hearts: Jesus wants to protect his disciples from despair at his death and from discouragement when persecution comes their way (14:27; 16:33). Only the peace of God that surpasses understanding can calm their anxieties (Phil 4:6–7).

14:2 my Father’s house: A similar expression is used in 2:16 for the Jerusalem Temple, hinting that the Father’s house is a heavenly sanctuary (Rev 21:22) perched high above in the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:26; Rev 21:1). This is the eternal dwelling where the glorified angels and saints worship the Lord in the eternal liturgy (Heb 12:22–24; Rev 4–5) (CCC 2795). many rooms: Similar to the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem, which had several courts for worship, chambers for storage, and living quarters for priests.

14:6 I am the way: A claim to be the sole Savior of the world (Acts 4:12). He is the one mediator chosen by the Father to bring the human family to glory. Earlier Jesus made this claim when he compared himself to Jacob’s ladder (1:51) (CCC 661, 2466).

14:9 has seen the Father: Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), his human flesh (1:14) being an icon of divine spirit (4:24). Through faith we see how Christ’s entire life shows us the heart of the Father and his love for the world (3:16; 5:19–23; CCC 516).

14:13 Whatever you ask: The Ascension of Jesus will not be his retirement, since even now he lives to make priestly intercession for the Church on earth (Heb 7:25; 9:24). I will do it: A promise to grant whatever is needed to facilitate our salvation (Mt 7:7–11). To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray that the Father will bless us through him (Jn 16:23–24; CCC 2614, 2615).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s familiar and majestic passage, Jesus exhorts us to trust him: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” So much depends on the spiritual meaning of the little word “trust.” Jeremiah the prophet laid it out as starkly and simply as possible: “Cursed be the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” And conversely, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord.”

What does it mean to trust, to have hope, to turn one’s heart to God? It means to root the whole of one’s life in God, and not to ground our concerns in the things of this world, in wealth, power, pleasure, and honor.

Ask yourself, what is the center of gravity in my life? The Bible consistently proposes this question. For example, read the book of Joshua, when Joshua lays it on the line for the people of Israel: “Do you serve the Lord or some other gods?” That’s the question being asked of you today.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Goodness of the Lord

The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”

“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.'”
(Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27)

Scripture Study

89:1–2. The terms “steadfast love” and “faithfulness” used in the start of the psalm are very much in evidence throughout the first part (vv. 1–37). These divine attributes are strong and enduring because they belong to God (cf. Ps 85:10).

89:3–4. And God’s Covenant with David is equally enduring, because God has sworn as much (cf. 2 Sam 7:13–16).

89:19–29. It was God who chose the king (v. 19), anointed him (v. 20) and promised to give him strength to deal with his enemies (vv. 21–24) and a realm stretching from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates and the Tigris (vv. 24–25). He also promised that he would be a Father to his son the king and would give him a line of descendants that endured forever (vv. 26–29; cf. 2 Sam 7:13; Ps 2). In the book of Revelation St John applies the words of v. 27 to Jesus risen from the dead when he calls him “the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev 1:5).

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Responsorial Psalm declares, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” The psalm begins by stating that God’s mercy and truth cannot fail, his promise to the House of David can never become void. Who can compare with God, all powerful in heaven and on earth, kind, just and faithful to his people and to their king? Then the psalmist recalls the promise made to David whereby an everlasting covenant was established and the throne secured. Even if Israel should prove faithless and have to be punished, the promise to David’s House will never be annulled. So we can joyfully proclaim, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

– T. E. Bird, “The Psalms”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Father Told Me

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
(John 12:44-50)

Scripture Study

12:44–50. With these verses St John brings to an end his account of our Lord’s public ministry. He brings together certain fundamental themes developed in previous chapters—the need for faith in Christ (v. 44); the Father and the Son are one yet distinct (v. 45); Jesus is Light and Life of the world (vv. 46, 50); men will be judged in accordance with whether they accept or reject the Son of God (vv. 47–49). The chapters which follow contain Jesus’ teaching to his Apostles at the Last Supper, and the accounts of the Passion and Resurrection.

12:45. Christ, the Word Incarnate, is one with the Father (cf. Jn 10:30): “he reflects the glory of God” (Heb 1:3); “he is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). In John 14:9 Jesus expresses himself in almost the same words: “He who has seen me has seen the Father”. At the same time he speaks of his oneness with the Father, we are clearly shown the distinction of persons—the Father who sends, and the Son who is sent.

In Christ’s holy human nature his divinity is, as it were, hidden, that divinity which he possesses with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14:7–11). In theology “circumincession” is the word usually used for the fact that, by virtue of the unity among the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, “the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son” (Council of Florence, Decree Pro Jacobitis, Dz-Sch, 1331).

12:47. Christ has come to save the world by offering himself in sacrifice for our sins and bringing us supernatural life (cf. Jn 3:17). But he has also been made Judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 10:42): he passes sentence at the particular judgment which happens immediately after death, and at the end of the world, at his second coming or Parousia, at the universal judgment (cf. Jn 5:22; 8:15–16).

Scripture Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear once again that he and the Father are one. God is not a force or an energy or a spiritual presence occupying the deep background of your life; he’s not something that you can tap into when you feel like it. Nor is God a distant supreme being who organized the universe long ago and now leaves it to its own devices.

Rather, God is the Lord. He is the commander, the ruler, the governor, the one who makes a demand and who then involves himself intimately in the affairs of the world.

More to it, this Lord is one. This is, as argued by Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), a subversive statement, for it undermines anyone or anything else’s claim to be absolute. No country, no president, no prime minister, no culture, no book, no person or political party is absolute—only God. The unity of God, for Jews and Christians, is not simply a theoretical claim; it is an enormously important existential claim. Jesus and the Father are one God who is the Lord of all creation.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.