Gospel: Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
After this, Jesus went around Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews wanted to kill him. Now the Jewish feast of the Tents was at hand.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, he also went up, not publicly but in secret.
Some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Is this not the man they want to kill? And here he is speaking freely, and they don’t say a word to him? Can it be, that the rulers know that this is really the Christ? Yet we know where this man comes from; but when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.“
So Jesus announced in a loud voice in the temple court where he was teaching, “You say that you know me and know where I come from! I have not come of myself; I was sent by the One who is true, and you don’t know him. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.“
They would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him because his time had not yet come.
The Feast of Tents
There were 4 important festivals the Jews celebrated in Jerusalem: (1) Passover to commemorate the liberation from Egypt, (2) Pentecost to commemorate the giving of the Torah, (3) the Day of Atonement to confess sins and beg for forgiveness , and (4) Tabernacles to celebrate in anticipation the triumph of Israel over their enemies. The episode in the Gospel today is set on the 4th festival.
Jesus’ disciples seem to have gone ahead for the festival. Jesus follows some days later. The Festival of Tents was, at the time of Jesus, a time when the Jews would be praying for the victory of Israel over their enemies. It was a time when the Jews would have been praying and expecting the Messiah who would restore the kingdom of Israel. Thus, we could understand the curiosity of the people of Jerusalem. Will this Jesus, whom some already call the “Messiah,“ enter Jerusalem and declare his “messiahship?“
This would have been perfect timing. Political timing, that is! But he would fulfill the Father’s plan at the proper time. As Jesus had said to his Mother in the miracle of Cana, “my time has not yet come“ so John the Evangelist tells us “his time had not yet come.“ In life we often have to abide by God’s timing, not our own. We have to pray “In his time, he makes all things beautiful, in his time.“