Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

It can be difficult to truly hear someone out when we feel threatened.  When we are in charge or have a position of authority sometimes we are challenged by people who have better answers or are better qualified to lead than ourselves.  The temptation to stay in control at all costs, or to assert ourselves and ascend to a higher and stronger position can become intense.  The strongest position is always the truth because the truth doesn’t require  human authority to reinforce it.

In today’s Gospel, we can see how being in a position of authority is not the same as having authority.  We can also see how afraid people who have authority are of losing it.  Jesus is the only one whose person itself is Truth.  This gives Him absolute authority.  It is nothing He has to prove, His Words come from a place of incontestable reliability.  Jesus is not trying to make a political power grab.  When He speaks, living water begins to gush and flow within the hearts of his listeners.  The charism that belongs to Jesus is supernatural authority that stands on the very nature of the Words He speaks and the effects they have on the minds and hearts of those who truly listen.


“St John of the Cross has this to say to those who seem to want to serve God but who baulk at the effort entailed: “If you continue to satisfy the comfort and tastes of the flesh, your sensuality, and never arm yourself for battle or deny your body in anything, how will you ever desire to enter the troubled waters of the spiritual trials and works that lie deep within? O souls that desire to journey calmly and safely through the life of the Spirit! If only you knew that suffering is the source of true calm and safety, […] you would never seek consolation from God or take comfort in created things. You would take up the cross, and be crucified, and drink the vinegar and gall (cf. Jn 19:29), and you would discover that by dying to this life and to yourself, you are brought to life in the joy of God” (Flame of Living Love, 2, 27–28).”1

“In Hebrew fruit is literally “bread.” It may be that “bread” may be used with the meaning “fruit,” but a majority of scholars believe this not to be the case. TEV adopts a proposal that requires a slight alteration of the Hebrew (literally “in its sap”), thus translating “while it is still healthy.” REB is similar: “while the sap is in it.” This seems to be what was done also by NJB (“in its strength”), MFT (“in my full bloom”), and NAB (“in its vigor”)”2

“Those who did not know the law believed on the one who had sent the law, and those men who were teaching the law despised him.6 … For the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, were made blind, and the people who did not know the law and yet believed on the author of the law were enlightened.”3

“Nicodemus is sick with a terrible sickness because we ought to believe fearlessly, glorying rather than being ashamed, practicing a transparent openness and rejecting slave-like hypocrisy.… Thus it was fitting for the wise Paul to declare, “I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith.”4


  1. Gavigan, J., McCarthy, B., & McGovern, T. (Eds.). (2005). Major Prophets (p. 353). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.
  2. Newman, B. M., Jr., & Stine, P. C. (2003). A handbook on Jeremiah (p. 306). New York: United Bible Societies.
  3. Augustine, TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 33.1.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 270). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. Cyril of Alexandria, COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 5.2.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 271). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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