The Gospel today tells us the chief priests and Pharisees met and discussed about Jesus: What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation. The rulers of the nation were concerned about keeping the peace and preserving the Temple and their nation. They knew the Temple and the nation exists because of the magnanimity of the Romans. They saw Jesus as the problem so he had to be stopped. The chief priest said this clearly. John comments this was the prophecy of the high priest for that year. And this will be fulfilled but not as what the high priest envisioned. Jesus was to die, but not only to prevent the nation from being destroyed, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. The death of Jesus did not prevent the destruction of the Temple nor of the nation because four decades after the death of Jesus, Rome sacked Jerusalem, doing what the chief priests and Pharisees feared.
There are two thread going on here. One is the human event of killing Jesus for the sake of the Temple and nation. The other is the divine event, where Jesus died, for the nation and to gather the dispersed children of God. God uses the plans of men to fulfill his purpose. While God did not prevent the destruction of the Temple and nation, he used the death of Jesus to reconcile to himself all those who separated themselves from God. The death of Jesus was the plan of men but God used it for his purpose.
What does it look like, when Jesus reconciles to God those who are dispersed? The First Reading tells us: they shall never again defile themselves with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. I will save them from all the apostasies into which they have fallen, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be my people and I will be their God. Our reconciliation with God is God’s work and not achieved by human effort. Our role in this is to allow God to do what he has to do, by making Jesus as our Lord.
God calls us today and always to be reconciled with him. He wants us to join him and enjoy the life he has planned for us. But we need to allow him to do this. We cannot make our plans to achieve this. We cannot be reconciled with God on our own effort. But we need to come to him and allow him to work in us so he can cleanse us and make us his people. Then he will be our God.
Lord, I have sinned against you. I have done evil things which I had thought you could not forgive. I have tried to fix what I have done, but they always fall short. So here I am, surrendering my life to you. I accept you as my God. I will serve only you and I will love only you. Cleanse my heart, reconcile me with yourself so I can join you forever.