The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
“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.
One of the reasons why we find it hard to accept the truth about something or someone is because we fail to exert effort to know what that truth is. But the reality is that, God gave us the faculty which is the intellect to know this truth. Our biases and prejudices block our intellect in the form of sin such as pride, envy or even hatred. We become self-centered rather than others-centered.
This is what happened in our Gospel today. The Jews find it difficult to accept the truth being said by Jesus because of their own biases with Jesus. They already prejudged Jesus as a false prophet, insane, and many other accusations. The case is more difficult to understand or even to accept as truth because Jesus claims that He is God. That He and the Father has a very close and intimate relationship. Here, Jesus even declares Himself as someone who had been in the past even before the time of Abraham. The Jews became too focused on themselves rather than to take effort in knowing others, in this case Jesus Christ.
I remember in our science classes during our elementary and high school days, we had to perform experiments. We had to present proofs for our conclusions based on what we had observed while performing the experiments. The results would then be compared to what our reference books would tell; later on we would find out that what science is teaching or trying to present is really true because it has been proven before and even during our class.
But our faith in God is not a science that has to be proven by concrete proofs as a result of our experimentations. Our faith in God is based on what we believe and what we trust as something given by God and our hearts assent to it. It needs a personal encounter with the Lord for us to believe in God. St. Thomas Aquinas had said that for those who have faith no proof is needed but for those who have no faith, no proof is possible. Applying this to our relationship with Jesus, for us to believe in Him, we only need our faith and not any proofs of Him being God.
The invitation for us today is to know Jesus more in order for us to have a deeper understanding and knowledge of Him. In doing this, the faith that has been planted in our hearts could grow. We need to have personal encounters with Jesus who continuously reveals Himself to us so that we may be able to accept the Truth. Let us be docile to the works of God through the Holy Spirit in our lives and allow ourselves to accept that this is God working in us. Let us allow God to take possession of our life and ask Him to grant us a bigger faith that He may help us with our unbelief. In a few days, we will be entering Holy Week. Let us make use of these days for us to know Jesus who suffered and died in order for us to be saved. This is our creed. This is what we believe. This is more than enough proof of who Jesus is for us.