14 March
Jn 5:17-30

Jesus said, ‘My Father is still working, and I also am working.’ For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Anyone who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgement, but has passed from death to life. ‘Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.  ‘I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Father and Son.  Not Prime Mover, not Emanation, not Life Force, not Energy…. Christians use the language of human relationships to speak about God.  We do this because Jesus did so.  He spoke of God as his Father.  And the Father called him his Son: “a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son’” (Mt 3:17; 17:5).  In Jesus, our God is translated into human reality.  In the history of the world’s religions the supreme deities tended to evaporate into thin air because they were perceived as too remote, and were replaced by more proximate deities.  In the Christian faith, God does not evaporate into total generality but becomes, in Christ, one of ourselves. 

This mystery really touches us in every sense.  It is “what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands” (1 Jn 1:1).  It also plucks at the heart-strings.  But it is hard, if not impossible, to keep possession of our full spiritual inheritance.  We are forever going lopsided.  Christian devotion can sometimes focus so exclusively on Jesus that it makes him a substitute for the Father rather than a revelation of the Father.  At times it goes even further, practically substituting Mary and the saints for Jesus.  

The ‘Glory’ used to read: “Glory to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.”  It was in reaction to the Arian heresy (which denied the divinity of Christ) that it was changed to “Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.”  This underlined the equality of the divine Persons, but it tended over time to obscure the ‘working’ of the Trinity.  It seemed to put the divine Persons there statically in front of us.  It is hardly surprising then that some people just took their pick.  We often hear that our spirituality should be Christ-centred.  However, the Liturgy – which is our primary spiritual teacher – is Father-centred, in the sense that the prayers, with extremely few exceptions, are addressed to the Father, through Christ our Lord.



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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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