Wisdom 2: 1A, 12-22
For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,
“Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
We are considered by him as something base,
and he avoids our ways as unclean;
he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
Let us test him with insult and torture,
so that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”
Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they did not know the secret purposes of God,
nor hoped for the wages of holiness,
nor discerned the prize for blameless souls;
Psalm 34: 16-22,
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret.
Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
The scriptures today signal us that we are nearing the end of Lent. We read in the first reading and the Gospel how the Jews were preparing to kill Jesus. Their hatred for him had increased and they were looking for an opportunity to take his life. In the scriptures, we also see the importance and influence of God’s timing in how the events played out. They were nearing the festival of Booths, which is a feast God instituted for the Jewish people as a remembrance of how he delivered them from Egypt. At the end of the gospel, after Jesus tells the people that he has come from God, they try to arrest him. They are unsuccessful, though, as his time had not yet come. God was in control of when his son would go to the cross and it would not happen until it was God’s time.
During these days of waiting and dealing with the trial afflicting the whole world of COVID-19, it is important to remember that God is in control. it is no accident that this trial should come during Lent but is an important time for us to turn our eyes to God. God was in control of the timing for when Jesus should go to the cross and when he should die because he was in control of when he would rise again. He was in control of the dark days when he was buried in the tomb. He was even in control of when he died on the cross giving up his spirit. The darkness never won over God, but he used it to bring about his plan for salvation for the whole world.
Where are you spiritually in the middle of this trial? Does it feel to you like it will never end or you don’t understand why this is happening? Maybe you find it difficult to understand why God is allowing us all to experience this. Either way, read the scriptures today and know that darkness can only go as far as God allows it. While God does not cause the darkness, he can use it to bring about his Will. Trust your life to God and his timing today and ask for the grace to trust him.