“My Father goes on working and so do I”

John 5:17

Friday, 10 July 2020

John 5:5-18

After Jesus has healed the mat man, he too gets into hot water with his peers. They did not like what he did. It violated their interpretation of the law. So, they persecute Jesus. He responds by telling them that “My Father goes on working and so do I.”

The healing work of God continues, despite any human efforts to halt it. God is always working. We may think that God has abandoned us when things do not happen as we think they should. Our prejudice can blind us from seeing the Lord’s work. This is what happened with Jesus’ contemporaries. They failed to see the healing work of God because they were caught up in their righteousness and prejudice. They wanted God to act as they would act. Jesus fails the test and so, they say, he cannot be God.

The challenge for us is twofold. First, we are invited to see through our prejudice. This is difficult because it asks that we interrogate our oft dearly held religious prejudice. There is nothing more damaging than religious people who hold strongly to their narrow interpretations or understandings of religious law and use it against others. Jesus reveals a God who is first and foremost merciful. Human beings and their well-being are at the forefront of God’s concern.

The second challenge for us is to become aware of how God is at work in the times and spaces we might not have thought possible. God works in the small and seemingly insignificant details of our lives and the lives of others. The ability to smile and look to the future with confidence after a relationship has broken. Offering forgiveness to another, or a kind word to a stranger – are all evidence that God’s healing hand is at work.

What religious laws do I use against others? What religious prejudice is an obstacle for me to be able to put human beings first? Where might I have missed the healing hand of God at work? Where is God working today, healing me and others around me?

Lord God,
Remove the scales of religious prejudice that prevent me from seeing every person as you see them: through the eyes of merciful love. Help me to put human beings, made in your image and likeness before all else. Grant me the grace to see you working in the people and places I least expect.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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