Gospel: 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 together the Council.
They said, “What are we to do? For this man keeps on performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, all the people will believe in him and, as a result of this, the Romans will come and destroy our Holy Place and our nation.”
Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 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 like a prophet that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also would die in order to gather into one the scattered children of God. So, from that day on, they were determined to kill him.
Because of this, Jesus no longer moved about freely among the Jews. He withdrew instead to the country near the wilderness, and stayed with his disciples in a town called Ephraim.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and people from everywhere were coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover. They looked for Jesus and, as they stood in the temple, they talked with one another, “What do you think? Will he come to the festival?”
To be in a position of power and authority is not only to enjoy its perks and privileges. One has to wrestle too with many considerations to preserve peace, to preserve one’s status, to uphold the rights of persons and the likes. It is a delicate balancing act of service, of self-preservation and respect of the individual. Sometimes, the stakes are so high that one or the other must be sacrificed. Thus we can sympathize with the Jewish Council called by the chief priests and Pharisees to deal with the Jesus movement that is now gaining traction. They must make a decision whether they will allow Him to amass such followings that would merit Rome’s attention and intervention. For them, the survival of their faith and nation is at stake. They did not however articulate that the survival of their own institutions is also in peril. Thus condemning Jesus to death for the seemingly greater good would be easy.
How many times do leaders select reasons for their actions that seem legitimate and holy in that particular situation while conveniently sweeping aside their self-serving interest? They would like to think that people owe them a great debt for doing so when in reality it is they who gained the most. This self-deception may totally convince them but those who can see through their motives will not allow truth to be diluted.