The Genealogy of Jesus is described in Matthew 1:1-17 The total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
In ancient, as well as, modern times before the industrial revolution many people lived and died in a small geographic area. You are where you lived. Except for the Roman soldiers or sailors the common people lived in a limited area probably no more than 20 or 30 miles from the place they were born. My wife’s grandfather was born in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland and a big trip was to go to Sligo on the West coast of Ireland. As part of the Irish diaspora he eventually immigrated to the United States, just like my maternal grandparents from Poland. In Jesus time if you lived in Galilee you it would be understood that you were probably from there. Jesus lived there for most of the first 30 years of His life to the time of His ministry.
The people, the soldiers and Pharisees did not have the benefit of the Gospel of Matthew. All of them were confused and maybe a little selfish. Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee was an answer to the Scriptures but He did not fit the mold. The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” So the Pharisees answered them, ” Have you also been deceived? Jesus had thrown the whole lot of them into confusion. They were so dumbfounded that in the end they could not decide what to make of Jesus and then each went to his own house.
Why were they confused? …. Jesus, if He was the Messiah, was speaking the words of love and repentance. You know love the Lord your God with your whole heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself.
The guards answered, ” Never before has anyone spoken like this man”. The Pharisees said that the guards were tricked and did not know the “truth”.
April Fools……… The joke was on them. They were so befuddled that they each went home to his own house. Nicodemus said not to condemn him before He is heard. Judgements ! We all make them. I am just as guilty as anyone about rushing to judgement about people, things, and politics. Things are not always as they seem. In last Sunday’s Gospel from John chapter 9 about the man born blind. Sometimes we are blind to others around us and blind to what God wants in our lives.
I recently went to the memorial service of a family friend named Regina. She was born in a maximum security prison named Sing Sing . What are you thinking? Tough cookie! She was just the opposite. The prison hospital was the closest hospital around and her mother was due and needed the closest hospital. This would not happen today in a maximum security prison but this was 1929. As an adult, Regina was a nun for many years and left the convent and married. In between she was a consummate educator, school principal and wife. She was a wonderful person and a dear friend. As Nicodemus said don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge other people. Who know’s you may learn more about what God wants for your life and more about your relationship with God.
It is so ironic that as I was writing this reflection, my sister gave me the news that my 45-year-old nephew was sent to the county jail for domestic violence. He suffers from anger management issues and alcoholism. My emotions went from embarrassment, shame for our family and judgement. He is a lost soul that needs my prayers and so hard not to be judgemental .The problem with the soldiers and my nephew is that sin causes confusion.
Don’t be an April Fool? Christ message is clear. Never before has anyone spoken like this man. Search you life today and clean house that any sin on your soul that may cause confusion be removed. No one is beyond hope and all lives truly matter. Listen to Nicodemus who suggested that we hear what Christ has to say to us this Lenten Season.
Readings: Jeremiah 11:18-20; Psalm 7: 2-3, 9 B C-10, 11-12; John 7: 40-53