“How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?”

Jesus’ monologue to the Jews that oppose Him continues (Jn 5:31-47).  He berates them for not believing in Him even though John the Baptist, the works He has done for God the Father, and Moses, “in whom you’ve placed your hope” (v. 45), all testified to the Christ.  A key insight that Jesus gives us regarding His persecutors blindness to Him is the words He speaks above.  As we see throughout the gospels, Jesus often reprimands the Jewish religious leaders for seeking places of honor (e.g., Lk 14:1-24, Mt 23:6), dressing and acting in a way to draw attention to themselves (e.g., Mt 23:5), praying in a self-centered way (e.g., Lk 18:9-14) or to gain sympathy (e.g., Mt 6:16-18), looking down upon others (e.g., Lk 15:1-8), and so on.  All indicate a pride that puts oneself first (“they have received their reward” [Mt 6:2]), ahead of others and God.  What is needed for these men, and for us today, is the humility to acknowledge the Truth (Jesus) so that our spiritual scales may fall off (cf. Acts 9:18).  A very important way to make this happen is to study the scriptures.  But not like the men in the gospel who “think [they] have eternal life through them” (v. 39) or, as mentioned earlier, through Moses.  No, we know that our faith is not based on a book but on the Word of God, Jesus.  If we do not see the Christ in all of the Bible, in Sacred Tradition (of which the Bible is a part), and in the teachings of the Church faithfully passed down, then our approach, like that of the Jews we read about today, is not in keeping with the Divine Revealer’s intention.  We have been given these gifts freely by God so as to be able to know Him better and to do His will.  They are not to be ignored, abused, or only partially embraced.  We are called to take the whole Christ faithfully and do as He says.

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