Acts 11: 19-26
John 10: 22-30


Reading the introductory part of today’s Gospel evokes a feeling of cold and wintertime blues. Thinking about how many extra pounds we put on due to decreased motivation to move and eventually affect our mood too.

It was the festival of dedication in Jerusalem, where Jesus was found walking in the temple court… This festival is also known as Hanukkah by the Jews as it commemorates the rededication of the temple by the Maccabeans after it was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, King of Syria, around 164 BC. It is also in this occasion that they celebrate the festival of light. During the temple’s rededication, the pure oil available was just enough for a day, but it lasted for eight days, giving them time to collect a fresh supply of purified oil. They believed that a miracle from God had occurred. Therefore, this festival holds great significance in the Judaic tradition.

As a faithful Jew, Jesus’ presence in this setting holds significant weight, as John reported. His deep understanding of Jewish traditions and customs and their theological meaning helped him provide an avenue to teach his audience. But what makes this more striking in this narrative is that most of the Greek verbs used are in the present form, particularly when Jesus refers to his relationship with his sheep. Thus, from the given information, we can infer that John intends to involve us, as his prospective audience, by reminding us that God’s covenantal relationship did not end during Jesus’ time but continues to this day. We are called to listen to Jesus’ voice and enjoy the beauty of being known by Him. Isn’t that a reassuring word that Someone from above and inside of us knows and loves us so well? That must be a reason why we should celebrate who we are in front of God.

But reality check, we might be a believer in Jesus by the number of years of attending Masses or participating life in the Church but still have feelings of insecurities that leave us much dependent on what others think of us. Many of us have a tendency to prove that we are capable of doing great things. Perhaps sometimes, without considering that others can do the same, we may be fearful of losing our place on a particular pedestal. We may have experienced years of being in the limelight, but when we turn inward, we find that it is hollow and empty because the sense of security it provides is only temporary. How much longer will we be in uncertainty, like the Jews questioned Jesus? Do we still cling to what is external and afraid to be confronted with our nothingness?  Isn’t winter known for its cold, gloom and lifelessness, contrasted with the promise of eternal life that resembles springtime with its vibrant colors and new growth?

Sr Rosana Estoque CP is a Passionist Religious, and the Pastoral Associate at St.Brtigid’s Chruch, Marrickville.

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