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While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

I ask God for the grace to know myself — and to share what I know.

Prayer Text

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under  construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?”

But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

Jn 2:13-25

Reflection

By Erin Buckley

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 2, Jesus is in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. While there, because of his actions, “many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing” (John 2:23). John identifies the purpose of writing his Gospel: To show that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believers in him might have eternal life (John 20:31).

How do you show who you are? How do you tell who you are? These questions prompt images of life in a small town, which I’ve had the opportunity to visit during road trips or sometimes as destinations in themselves. A few years ago, I travelled with my mother to Floyd, Virginia, a veritable one-stoplight town: With a population of 448 at the 2020 census, the town is 0.5 square miles. There’s a palpable quaintness in such a place.

Eating in a restaurant on Main Street, I wonder, What would it be like to live here? What would it feel like to grow up here and come back to visit? I ponder the opportunity to deeply know a place, to know all my neighbors, to be known. Tapping my feet at the jamboree at the Floyd Country Store, I wonder, What if I spent every Friday night here?

To me, there’s both an allure and an itchiness to a small town. I think this ambivalence mimics our desire to be known and the discomfort in getting to be known. We are ready to make ourselves known to those we can entrust with ourselves, but reticent otherwise. In John 2:23-25, Jesus says he could not trust himself to the people because he knew them all. Jesus, too, underwent a process of being known by others — family, apostles and strangers.

So too in our relationships: There’s a dance in deciding what to reveal of ourselves, to whom and to what degree; we pick and choose with whom we want to reveal our stories, our dreams, our desires. Who is worthy of knowing all of our weaknesses, misgivings, fears, hopes? The One who already knows us, the One who made us, the One who is worthy of our trust. Whether in a city or small town, the One who searches us out, pursues us, is worthy of our love. The One who, considering human nature — all its intricacies, contradictions, foibles, fears, tensions, fluctuating desires — “himself understood it well.”

Questions for Contemplation

  • Who are the people in your life who really know you? What shared moments have contributed to that knowing?
  • From whom do you withhold parts of yourself? Are there aspects of your identity that are holy to you but unknown to others? Why?

Closing Prayer

God of towns big and small, I call to mind the many places I have walked, the many people I have encountered. I call to mind those places that I really know and those that are still foreign to me. I ask that, no matter where I am, I may see you in the people I meet — and that I may manifest your love through my actions. Amen.

Meet the Writer

Erin Buckley lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an occupational therapist. She was formally introduced to Ignatian spirituality during a year spent as a Jesuit Volunteer in Portland, Maine. She appreciates the Examen’s specific prompts. Erin contributes essays to her alma mater’s quarterly, Notre Dame Magazine; besides writing, she enjoys walking and painting — with “AMDG” frequently included in her signature.