“If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink” (Jn 7:37b DRB).
These are the words that Jesus spoke before the scene in today’s Gospel. These words led some people to believe that He was the Prophet sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah; others believed Him to be the Christ. Some, however, did not want to listen to His words, instead pointing out the apparent discrepancy with the Scriptures — namely, that Christ was from Galilee, not Bethlehem as had been foretold.
The Pharisees were so caught up in the letter of the law that they closed their hearts to the Truth right before them. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with the Scriptures; however, He grew up in Galilee. The Pharisees did not want to change their ways and live the life of the Gospel to which Jesus called them, so instead, they sought to eliminate His influence. They claimed that the crowds were being deceived, but it was really they who were deceiving themselves.
Whenever we close our hearts from listening to God, we crucify Him again in our hearts. We become like the Pharisees, preferring our comfortable way of life to the straight and narrow path that leads to salvation. Conversion is a life-long process; we cannot fall into presumption and believe that if we are Catholic, we will automatically be saved. We must spend our lives listening to the Word of God in Scripture and Sacred Tradition, as well as in our own hearts, striving to conform ourselves ever more to His Will. We do this through frequent prayer and reception of the Sacraments, as well as by removing ourselves from the noise of the world around us. In this way, we will be able to hear the still, small voice of God in our hearts, guiding us ever closer to Him.
Today, on the eve of Passion Week, let us strive to open our hearts to God during these last two weeks leading up to Easter. May we not be like the Pharisees, who closed their hearts to Jesus’ words, but rather, may we seek to open them and receive His Word and grace, allowing them to guide us ever closer to Him as we journey toward our heavenly Home.