4th Wednesday of Lent
Today’s gospel passage comes immediately after the cure of the man who was ill for thirty eight years. This discourse by Jesus takes place at a festival and in the Temple. The Temple is the magnificent second Temple built by Herod which would accommodate close to 200,000 people in its many courts.
And lost in the crowd at the festival is this man speaking of the very same God in shocking language. Jesus says ‘My Father works and I work. You and I can understand every single word he uses. A toddler could. It is simple language. And yet we know we understand nothing of the inner reality of those words. Only this- St John in the magnificent Temple has shifted the focus to the new Holy of Holies, the inner life of God in this man Jesus.
Jesus will say solemnly, using the double amen, ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing.’ The verb in the original Greek is not the one used for perception but a verb used for seeing something with your physical eyes. What does this really mean? The words do not deceive. They truly reveal and yet this simple revealing is so dazzling to our limited minds that it also conceals. We are put in touch with the mystery and yet at the same time know it infinitely exceeds our comprehension. This is a contemplative gospel. We stand outside this Holy of Holies. We wait before it with heads bowed and our sandals removed for we are on holy ground.