5th Week of Lent, Wednesday

Yesterday Our Lord addressed the Jews who didn’t believe in him or in the Father. Today he addresses those who did believe in him, and he reminds us that faith alone is not enough; there has to be a change of heart, a conversion. To understand what Our Lord is saying today about the Father and the “father” of the Jews he is addressing we have to consider a moment in the account of the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Lord, addressing the serpent who contribute to the Fall, says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel” (Genesis 3:15, NABRE).

The Jews are thinking of being blood descendants of Abraham. Our Lord is speaking of whose side they’ve chosen by their behavior. Our Lord is the “offspring” who strikes at the head of the serpent’s offspring, a fatal blow. Our Lord is offering them a way to return to the right side: to return to the family of God by turning away from sin. As he describes in today’s Gospel, those who sin enslave themselves. The fact that they seek Our Lord’s death shows that they are not on the side of Our Lord, or of Abraham, or of the Father, because they are trying to kill the truth that could set them free. Our Lord is trying to convince them to change back to the winning side; it they don’t, they may slow down God’s designs, but ultimately they’ll fail.

The young men in today’s First Reading were clear regarding which side they were on, regardless of the consequences. In a world that often entices us to sacrifice our Christian principles, let’s show the same boldness as the young men by believing in Christ and the winning side and giving witness to it, no matter how much the world seems to threaten us.

Readings: Daniel 3:14–20, 91–92, 95; Daniel 3:52–56; John 8:31–42.