Today’s Gospel reading continues from the healing of the paralytic at Bethesda. What follows is one of the extended Johannine discourses that help us understand more about the nature, person, and work of the Lord Jesus.
As he frequently does, St. John provides a helpful narration “For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.” The rest of the passage tells us about the essentially connected nature, the harmony of action, between the Son and the Father.
In the divine mystery of the Blessed Trinity, there is no competition between Father and Son. The interplay of divine love pouring into the world does not upend creation but raises it up. Nature and grace are not ultimately at odds. Grace does not destroy nature.
Both the Son and the Father have life in themselves. This could only be possible if they were consubstantial, as we say in the creed (“of the same substance”). The Father gives all judgment to the Son, which can only be if the Son shares the same perfect, omniscient, nature as the Father. Failure to honor the Son is equivalent to dishonoring the Father. Such a connotation goes deeper than merely dishonoring a representative or emissary. The Son does the will of the Father perfectly, an impossible task for any creature no matter how great. Whoever believes in the Son receives a share in the life of the Father and Son.
When the Church professes her belief in the Holy Trinity, she follows the very words of the Lord Jesus. We take Jesus at His word. We take the teachings of the Holy Apostles and their successor at their word. We maintain our belief and articulate it to an increasingly skeptical world. St. John’s Gospel is perhaps the most explicit in terms of how this wonderful revelation of God was given to us. May we receive these words of life and their attending teachings with reverence and humility. Fides quaerens intellectum.
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