Readings and Reflection for April 8 (Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent)

Assumption University

A Delightful Lenten Journey

Click the arrow below to hear a member of the Assumption community read today’s Gospel.

God’s picture within a minute!

A little girl was in a drawing lesson. She was seven years old and was drawing at the back of the classroom. Usually, she did not pay attention to anything at all. But in that drawing lesson, she was very attentive. Her teacher was very surprised and went over to her and said: “What are you drawing?” The little girl answered: “I am drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “but nobody knows what God looks like.” And the little girl replied, “they will in a minute.”

From a physical building to a living presence

To understand better today’s Gospel, we need to look at its context. Jesus was in the Temple at the time of Dedication when the Jews celebrated God’s presence among them through a physical building made of stone. They asked Jesus about his identity. He affirmed his oneness with the Father. In other words, he told them that he was the living presence of God, the living picture of God, the living Temple of God. At this, the Jews took up stones to throw at Jesus. Here, we can see an irony. The Jews thought that God was present in a building made of stone. Jesus disagreed with them by affirming that he was the living presence of God. The Jews then took up stones of which the Temple was built in order to destroy the living presence of God.

Another way of being present

Even though the Jews wanted to harm Jesus, he continued to affirm his oneness with God: “The Father is in me and I am in the Father.” By doing so, Jesus wanted to let them know that he was God’s presence among them. For Jesus, there is another way God can be present to his people. God is present not only in a building made of stone, but also in a being made of flesh and blood. The union between God and his people through the Temple is now manifested in an embodied way. This union is perfected by the very presence of Jesus because he is one with the Father.

Being consecrated by God

For the first time in his Gospel, John described Jesus as the one consecrated by God. Being consecrated by God means being set apart to represent him and accomplish his works. From now on, the consecrated presence of the Son of God prevails over the consecrated stone altar. The one who was present in a consecrated building is now manifested through the works of his consecrated Son.

Sometimes we cannot participate in Mass physically as for example, during the pandemic. In those situations, we are to reflect on the importance of God’s presence within our body. With the event of the Incarnation, we can find God in our personal presence, made of flesh and blood. We are the living Temple of God. Our very presence is the living picture of the eternal God. We become God’s picture in less than a minute!

Prayer: O God, help us to understand that the nature of an image is to reflect something else.

Resolution: Who wrote these words and in what context? “And even if all the churches are closed, who is able to destroy the temple of the living God, which is Jesus in our midst? And even if the Sacraments are prohibited, who can stop us from quenching our thirst at the fountain of living water, which is charity in our midst, which is Christ in our midst?”