(Jn 7, 1-2, 10, 25-30)
Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.
Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.
The Feast of Tents
There were four important festivals the Jews celebrated in Jerusalem: (1) Passover to commemorate the liberation from Egypt, (2) Pentecost to commemorate the giving of the Torah, (3) the Day of Atonement to confess sins and beg for forgiveness, and (4) Tabernacles to celebrate in anticipation the triumph of Israel over their enemies. The episode in the Gospel today is set on the 4th festival.
Jesus’ disciples seem to have gone ahead for the festival. Jesus follows some days later. The Festival of Tents was, at the time of Jesus, a time when the Jews would be praying for the victory of Israel over their enemies. It was a time when the Jews would have been praying and expecting the Messiah who would restore the kingdom of Israel. Thus, we could understand the curiosity of the people of Jerusalem. Will this Jesus, whom some already call the “Messiah”, enter Jerusalem and declare his “messiahship?”
This would have been perfect timing. Political timing, that is! But he would fulfill the Father’ s plan at the proper time. As Jesus had said to his Mother in the miracle of Cana, “my time has not yet come” so John the Evangelist tells us “his time had not yet come”. In life we often have to abide by God’s timing, not our own. We have to pray “In this time, he makes all things beautiful, in his time.”
Fr. Paulson V. Veliyannoor, CMF