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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Saturday 4th of Lent

Gospel text (Jn 7,40-53): Many who had been listening to the words of Jesus began to say, «This is the Prophet». Others said, «This is the Christ». But some wondered, «Would the Christ come from Galilee? Doesn't Scripture say that the Christ is a descendant of David and from Bethlehem, the city of David?». The crowd was divided over him. Some wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him (…).

Who were Jesus’ accusers? (“The Jewish” question in John)

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI)
(Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, in the Gospel we perceive a certain "controversy" over the "Jews" around Jesus. In the fourth Gospel this is not a specific point made, although it rather appears as a constant in the ascent of Jesus to Jerusalem. But, ultimately, who exactly were Jesus’ accusers? According to John, it was simply "the Jews". But this expression does not in any way indicate the people of Israel in general; even less is it “racist” in character.

After all, John himself was ethnically a Jew, as were Jesus and all His followers. The entire early Christian community was made up of Jews. In John’s Gospel this word has a precise and clearly defined meaning: he is referring to the Temple aristocracy (there may be exceptions, such as Nicodemus). In Mark’s Gospel, the circle of accusers is broadened featuring "the Jews", and the "ochlos" ("mass") enters the scene and opts for the release of Barabbas, but it does not refer to the Jewish people as such...

—O Jesus! Here I am to defend You, because You call me by my name.