By Fr. Vince Freeh, MSC
In today’s reading from John’s Gospel, Jesus continues to take the Jewish leaders to task for their refusal to accept him as “the one sent by God.” He refers “to another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.” He first reminds them of their readiness to believe in John the Baptist, “who was the lamp, set aflame and burning bright, and for a while you exulted willingly in his light.” Yet when John “testified to the truth” about Jesus who was performing great works in the name of the Father, they rejected his testimony. Fully aware of the Father’s love for him, Jesus lets the Jews know he had no need of John’s witness; it was rather intended for them and their rejection of it would subject them to judgment.
This brings us to the heart of the matter. Jesus said, “These works which I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has himself given testimony on my behalf. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, neither do you have his word abiding in your hearts because you do not believe the One he has sent.”
Jesus dares them to search the Scriptures which also testify in his behalf. Yet they are unwilling to come to him to possess the life promised for them in the Scriptures. In the words of Jesus, the reason for their unbelief is “you do not have the love of God in your hearts.”
Here is the question we must ask ourselves: do we understand why the Jewish leaders did not have the love of God in their hearts. Jesus told them they accepted praise from one another yet they did not seek the glory that comes from the One God. Sadly, pride makes human praise more significant than joyfully accepting God’s love. Odd, isn’t it? Jesus summed it up by saying, “Where your treasure is there also your heart will be” (Luke 12:34). In short, your will determines where you will be.