It Was Winter

Homily for Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter

One of the things I really love about John’s gospel is how rich it is in providing certain details about the events in the life of Jesus and how those details can direct our minds and hearts to a deeper meaning of Christ’s actions. Every word has meaning. In this particular passage, I’m drawn to the fact that John includes the detail that this encounter with Jesus takes place in the winter. That reality symbolizes a lot of different things: cold, waiting, end, death, a precursor to spring and its new life. 

In these lines of Scripture, “It was winter” means that the long wait for the Messiah was coming to an end. Death was soon going to be defeated. The winter of Satan’s reign would soon pass into the spring of the Kingdom of God. Those who were not members of Jesus’ flock, those who weren’t His sheep were there to do battle against His actions, against the establishment of that Heavenly Kingdom on earth. As Jesus walks into the Temple area, those who were opposed to Him gathered around to debate Him, to test Him, to cause confusion among the crowds who had come to hear Him speak. 

Imagine how Jesus must have felt in that moment. He so desperately wants the Jews — all of the Jews — to accept the message that He is proclaiming. He wants them to hear the Truth and to embrace it, allowing it to change their lives. But so many of them struggle to do that. Yet, Jesus doesn’t condemn them. 

We can imagine Jesus walking about looking into the hearts of those around Him, acknowledging their hopes and desires. And none of them realized that their God was looking lovingly upon them. Jesus does the same thing to us; He looks upon us with love. He gazes into our hearts. He sees our every need, He sees our every desire. 

As Jesus looks at us today, let’s think about those areas of our hearts where we are experiencing winter. Where are those areas of waiting in our lives? Those places of winter cold or death? God is at this moment walking about those places in our souls, seeking to bring us to a deeper encounter with Him, an encounter that will transform those places. He wants to bring about a new spring time in our hearts. He wants us to listen to His voice and to follow Him. May we respond to that invitation today with generosity and faith, allowing the Lord to change us from within and lead us to the Father. 

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash. Used under Unsplash License.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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