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April 09, 2022

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DG BookGospel: John 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what he did; but some went to the Pharisees and told
them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called together the Council. They said, “What are we to do? For
this man keeps on performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, all the people will believe in him and, as a result

of this, the Romans will come and destroy our Holy Place and our nation.” Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke
up, “You know nothing at all! It is better to have one man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed.” In saying this Caiaphas did
not speak for himself, but being High Priest that year, he foretold like a prophet that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but
also would die in order to gather into one the scattered children of God. So, from that day on, they were determined to kill him. Because
of this, Jesus no longer moved about freely among the Jews. He withdrew instead to the country near the wilderness, and stayed with his disciples
in a town called Ephraim. The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and people from everywhere were coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves before
the Passover. They looked for Jesus and, as they stood in the temple, they talked with one another, “What do you think? Will he come to the festival?”

 

Reflection:

 

Caiaphas cannot really claim patent for the ‘wisdom’ of his
statement, “it is better to have one man die for the people
than to let the whole nation be destroyed.” He was merely
articulating a perennial human logic. Sacrificial system that
informs human culture has always been a substitution of
one element (to be sacrificed) in order to prevent the destruction
of the collective. Human economics is all about letting
one sheep be lost in order not to risk the ninety-nine, be it in
the abortion logic in planned parenthood or medical triage
(e.g., rationing ventilators during a pandemic). Jesus does not
negate the sacrificial system, for life feeds on life. However, he
changes it from forceful sacrifice of the other for preserving one’s
own life to free and loving offer of one’s own life to nurture
that of others. How radical and challenging!

 

 

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