Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Reading 1 Ez 37:21-28
Gospel Jn 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation."
Conversion must take place in the heart. We can be scholars in theology and never experience conversion. Take the chief priests and the Pharisees, all scholars for sure yet they remained unconverted. Why? Because their hearts were never open to God's grace. In Christ they saw loss not gain: "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation."
As scholars they should have been well versed in the words we hear from Ezekiel in the first reading: "My servant David shall be prince over them,and there shall be one shepherd for them all; they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees. They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where their fathers lived; they shall live on it forever, they, and their children, and their children's children..."
Their fear of Rome was greater than their trust in God's covenant, so much so that even the resuscitation of Lazarus brought murderous intent rather than glorious hope and praise. But let's not be too quick in our condemnation and take this last Saturday of Lent to examine our own heart: is it predisposed to conversion or have we something other that God at its center?
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.