March 21, 2013

The Gospel Today

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Jn 8: 51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

Reflection (Sem. Ernie Sican)

Today’s Gospel speaks of Jesus who existed even before Abraham. This revelation of Jesus is not a surprise because it only proves that He is not only a human being but is also divine. He is a true God and as such, he existed even before the beginning of time. In fact Jesus has no beginning being the second person of   the Holy Trinity.

The Jews cannot believe what Jesus tries to reveal. Their lack of faith caused them not to recognize the true identity of Jesus. They cannot allow God to be so close to them, to be one with them, sharing with them their humanity. Their concept of God is a powerful God but is somehow distant from them. Thus, they cannot reconcile the truth that God is with them in the person of Jesus. It is something absurd and unbelievable.

Like the Jews, we too have difficulties recognizing God in our lives. God reveals himself to us in the ordinary events of life and in the ordinary people we meet everyday. However, we are so pre-occupied with many unnecessary things that prevent us from noticing God’s revelation to us.

What prevents us from recognizing God’s presence in our lives? What blinds us from seeing God? Could it be our drive for success and accumulation of material things? To be successful and to acquire material things are in themselves good. What makes it bad is when they become the end. When we put aside God in pursuit for success and material gains, then it becomes bad. God should always be number one in our priority list. What good is it if we gain the whole world but in the end we lose our soul?

Sometimes when we are too full of ourselves, God is put aside and we become the center of our life. Everything that we do is always in reference to us. Our actions and decisions in life are anchored to our personal needs and preferences. We become insensitive to the will of God. As a result we experience the remoteness and even the absence of God in our life though in reality He is always there.  The challenge for us now is to remove the veil that hinders us from seeing and recognizing God working in our lives. Amen.

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