A reflection on the Gospel reading for March 6, 2008 (Jn 5:31-47) by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.
In the readings today we hear what becomes more and more prominent as we come closer to Holy Week: "because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.You search the Scriptures,because you think you have eternal life through them;even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life." (Jn 5:38-40) This reminded me of the passage from the book of Samuel when God tells Samuel to give the Israelites what they want, for they are not rejecting Samuel, but God as thier king. (cf. 1Sam 8:1-9) And again it reminds me of the reproaches from the Good Friday Liturgy: "My people what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!" Finally, we hear this theme continued in the New Testament when St. Paul declares to the "I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the One who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). " (Gal 1:6)
What we hear is that over and over again, God's ways are rejected. And He will come to a point when He lets us have our way... but woe to us if He gives us our way! I know there have been times in my life when I was sure I needed something and when God gave me what I asked for I regretted it. He sometimes lets us have our way in order that we learn that His ways are truly better.
Can we bend to His way? Lent is about searching that out, about dying to our selves and our self-will. Thy will be done! There's a lightness when we can say that, when we can break the chains of self-will and do His will. It is hard, though to break the chains. Through prayer and the Eucharist we can do that.