The structure of John’s gospel, from which virtually all our gospel readings are taken in the Easter season, is mostly built around specific feasts of the Jewish liturgical year, celebrated in Jerusalem (in John Jesus doesn’t simply go to Jerusalem before his arrest, but at various points in his teaching ministry). Yesterday the gospel reading (10:22-30) had the Lord in the Temple for the winter feast of ‘Hanukah’ (celebrating the [re-]Dedication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus); today (12:44-50) Jesus is there for ‘Pesach’, Passover, the last block of teaching material in John before the beginning of John’s Passion Narrative with his account of the Last Supper. What Jesus says in these extracts takes up some of the themes of the relevant Jewish feast. Today’s extract is a climax in the conflict between Jesus and the religious authorities, a climax at the most important feast of all. The picture here shows a contemporary Passover ‘seder’ – this year the feast almost coincided with the Christian Triduum and Easter.
We hear extracts from John 12 in the last weeks of Lent, leading up to the Passion of the Lord. Jesus talks here about himself as the ‘light’. In John there’s a constant contrast and tension between light and darkness – at Easter we’re led into light, symbolised every year by the light of the Paschal Candle (which you can see in the livestreamed Masses from our church). As we try and reflect on so much in the midst of this pandemic we pray too for enlightenment, to be led by God’s Spirit to understand what God is saying to us at this time.
God bless and take care