To Listen and to Understand – John 7:40-53

March 24, 2012

Jeremiah 11:18-20 | Psalm 7:2-3, 9-12

Gospel: John 7:40-53

When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Are you led astray, you also? Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed.” Nicode’mus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee.” They went each to his own house.


In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees are now determined to get rid of Jesus. The arrest and Passion of Christ is coming near. The people had different opinions and reactions towards Jesus. Some believe that He is a prophet; some believe that He is the Messiah and others were impressed with how Jesus speaks. But the Pharisees considered those people as having been led astray because the Pharisees regarded themselves as the only ones who know the law and who know better. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time lived according to their own selfish ways and wanted others to follow them to protect their own interests.
“Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”, a question in the Gospel which we should ask ourselves.
Sometimes, we are quick to judge others because they do not think like us, they do not have the same lifestyle like us or because they do not believe in what we believe in. But have we given them a chance to be heard or have we tried to understand their circumstances?
In my work, every accused, even those who admit to have committed the crime, have the right to due process, the right to be heard because these are basic rights which all of us should respect.
Today’s gospel then is a call for us to be always open to others to listen and to understand, and to live not according to how we want it to be but always in consideration of other people.

And with that may God be praised.


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