April 1, 2023
Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings for Today
So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” John 11:47–48
Jesus’ public ministry had two primary effects upon the people. For many, they were coming to believe in Him and were hanging on His every word. They sought Him out and began to understand that He was the promised Messiah. This was the response of faith. But the reaction of the chief priests and the Pharisees was far more worldly. In the passage above, we see a group of religious leaders who are completely consumed with worldly concerns to the point that these concerns drown out all matters of faith.
As the Sanhedrin convened and discussed what they should do, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, spoke up and gave advice that perfectly depicts this worldly vision. He said, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” Caiaphas and many other religious leaders at the time appeared to be far more concerned with their worldly status and power than they were with matters of true faith and eternal salvation. If they were men who deeply loved God and sought only His holy will, then they would have rejoiced that Jesus’ ministry was so fruitful in the lives of the people. They would have offered thanks to God, day and night, for the privilege of seeing the prophecies of old about the Messiah come to fruition before their own eyes. They should have had joy and gratitude, and they should have allowed those spiritual blessings to grow within them and give them the courage they needed to go forth and die with our Lord if necessary. But instead, they chose their comfortable lives and worldly status above the truth, and they decided that Jesus needed to die.
One beautiful truth to reflect upon within this context is that God uses all things for His glory and for the salvation of those who believe. With this meeting of the Sanhedrin, these men began to plot the death of Jesus. Eventually they used deceit, manipulation, intimidation and fear to accomplish their goal. But even though from a worldly perspective these misguided religious leaders “won,” from a divine perspective, God used their evil to bring about the greatest good the world had ever known. Through their malice, Jesus’ passion and death gave way to the new life of the Resurrection.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that God is able to use all things for our good. Be it in the midst of corruption, persecution, discord, sin, illness or any other evil in life, when we turn to God in faith and surrender, He is able to transform all things and bring forth an abundance of good fruit through them if we only let Him and trust in faith. Prayerfully surrender over to God, today, any of the above concerns that have affected you, and allow yourself to believe the simple truth that nothing can keep you from the glorious fulfillment of the will of God. All things can help toward the salvation of your soul and end in God’s eternal glory.
My glorious Lord, You were loved by many but also hated by some. Those with power and authority could not see beyond their worldly ambitions, so they began to plot against You. Give me the grace, dear Lord, to see every act of evil inflicted upon me as an opportunity for You to bring forth good. You are glorious, dear Lord. May You be glorified in all things. Jesus, I trust in You.
40 Days at the Foot of the Cross:
A Gaze of Love From the Heart of Our Blessed Mother
Reflection Thirty-Six – “Father, Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit”
(Sat. of Fifth Week of Lent)
Scripture Meditations for Lent
Featured image above: The Chief Priests Take Counsel Together By James Tissot, via Brooklyn Museum