Journey through Lent 2019 at St. Anthony's
REFLECTIONS FROM THE PEWS
April 5, 2019
 
In today’s readings, we are asked to ponder the purpose of our lives and concept of truth of Jesus as the Messiah.

The book of Wisdom of Solomon, or Wisdom, was written around 100 B.C.E. by a Greek-speaking Jew that is thought to have lived in Alexandria, Egypt. His audience was not just the faithful, but those who were in peril of abandoning monotheism for religions viewed as regular or popular in this time period. For us and this audience, this reading grabs our attention by bringing forth a what-if situation. Wisdom 2:1 declares, “Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a life comes to an end, and no one has been known to return, from Hades”, thus acknowledging the belief regarding life that people had who did not believe in God. Verses 12-20 lists how the wicked could torment and test the “righteous man” who professes his belief in God and does not live his life based on their unclean ways. In each line, the author outlines how the wicked have been led astray by their belief that their lives will end after their deaths and their actions do not have consequences.

Although this reading seems bleak and offers us a glimpse into how we could act if we didn’t have faith and belief in God, it returns us at the end of the reading back to praising God. In Verse 22, the text “[…] they did not know the secret purpose of God, nor hoped for the wages of holiness, nor discerned the prize for blameless souls” points us back to God and tells us that God has given our lives meaning and purpose. In The Bible as Literature , the authors reasons, “True wisdom brings one back to God, who is the origin of wisdom and through him to immortal life,” which is the purpose if this reading (Gabel 145).  Throughout this reading and the remaining part of the book, the author, like all of us, searches “for meaning in the constant flux of everyday events” which can be a struggle but with faith we can know that God has a plan for us (Gabel 150).

The Gospel of John presents us with writings independent from the styles of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but shares the common goals of telling us about Jesus’s life and works. In this reading, Jesus is traveling about Galilee around the time of the Festival of Tabernacles. He was wary of people because they were looking for opportunities to kill him because they were afraid of the wisdom and truth he was sharing. Some of the people of Jerusalem were questioning Jesus about his validity as the Messiah based on his origins. The place of Jesus’s birth may have been known to some of these questioners, but some were still unwilling to accept that he was the Messiah. The truth of Jesus’s birth and his lineage from David fulfill the prophetic predictions although this was not known to many.  Jesus responds these critics in verses 28-29, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent is true, and you do not know him. I know him because I am from him, and he sent me.” His answer calls on his relationship with God, the father and points out they have superficial information about him and where is from. His answers angered the crowd because it questioned their beliefs and their truths. Throughout this adversity, Jesus reaffirms his divinity and purpose from God. 

Kathryn Kuntz
St. Anthony Church Parishioner (and member of the choir)