Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
It is a haunting phrase in today’s Gospel, “So from that day on they planned to kill him.”
He doesn’t want us to take seats of honor in the synagogues. Let’s kill him.
He heals on the Sabbath. Let’s kill him.
He interprets the Law differently than us. Let’s kill him.
He parties with sinners like Matthew and Magdalene. Let’s kill him.
He talks about lost coins, lost sheep, lost sons. Let’s kill him.
The stage is set for Holy Week. It is hard to enter into the Lord’s Passion, but go there we must if we are to stand with the poor.
Let’s kill them in Darfur. Let’s kill them in Kosovo, Rwanda, East Timor. Let’s kill them in Bosnia. Cambodia, Serbia. Let’s kill them in Guatemala, Slovenia, the Congo.
It is hard to enter into the Lord’s Passion, but go there we must. The millions who were killed must not be forgotten.
—Ted Munz, S.J., Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Lord, give me your grace so I choose your pathway over the allurement of prestige, power, and the easier more comfortable way. There will be numerous decisions that I will make today. Help me to be mindful of asking for your guidance. I will pause to place myself before you.
While it might be easy to be critical of the Pharisees who rally the chief priests to pursue your death, how often do I betray you so I can stand in favor with others? As I prepare for Holy Week, help me to place myself before the cross and take in the immensity of your sacrifice.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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