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Today's Gospel + short theological explanation

Saturday 5th of Lent

Gospel text (Jn 11,45-56): Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what He did; but some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees called the Sanhedrin Council. They said, «What are we to do? For this man keeps on giving miraculous signs (…). Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke up, «(…) It is better to have one man die for the people than to let the whole nation be destroyed». In saying this Caiaphas did not speak for himself, but being High Priest that year, he foretold as a prophet that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the scattered children of God. So, from that day on, they were determined to kill him (…).

The Sanhedrin decides to kill Jesus

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

Today, John recounts a session at the Sanhedrin to form an opinion —and to shape an eventual decision— in the "case" of Jesus. John dates this session before Palm Sunday, and sees as its immediate occasion the popular movement generated by the raising of Lazarus. Without such a deliberate process, the arrest of Jesus during the night of Gethsemane would have been unconceivable.

John expresses with great clarity this striking combination in Caiaphas of carrying out God’s will and blind self seeking: the Cross corresponded to a divine "necessity" and Caiaphas, in making the decision he did, was ultimately carrying out God’s will, even if his motivation was impure and reflected, not God’s will, but his own selfish purposes (attitude which led to the catastrophe of the year 70).

—"Jesus was going to die (...) "to gather into one the children of God who were scattered": here echoes the "key word" of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer toward the unity of all believers within their Church.