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Thursday, fifth week of Lent

March 13, 2008

Blessed Thursday!

Lord, come to us: free us from the stain of our sins.
Help us to remain faithful to a holy way of life,
and guide us to the inheritance You have promised.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Genesis 17:3-9 (God establishes His covenant with Abram and changes his name to Abraham)
Psalm 105:4-9 “The Lord remembers His covenant forever”
+John 8:51-59 (Jesus is God; Abraham’s His creature)

When God appeared to Abram to establish the covenant, Abram fell flat on his face in adoration, later faithfully carrying out the terms of the covenant by circumcising every male of his household.

When God appeared to Abraham’s descendants to engage their participation in the fulfillment of that covenant, they picked up stones to kill Him (rocks–representative of the hardness of their hearts…).

What’s wrong with this picture?!

They failed to recognize Him.

This happens to us all the time. It’s no accident that the very next thing Jesus does is to cure a man born blind, commenting to the Pharisees, “If you were blind there would be no sin in that. ‘But we see,’ you say, and your sin remains” (John 9:41).

We are blind, blind, blind to God as He is. We simply can’t see Him, can’t recognize Him! He meets us in every person who crosses our path (“Whatever you did to the least of these, you did to Me” -Matthew 25:40), His loving plan for us unfolds in every detail of our lives (“Yes, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore” -Luke 12:7), He is Present to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in every Tabernacle in every Catholic church throughout the world, waiting for us to spend time with Him (“This is My Body, which is given for you” -Luke 22:19). And we’re completely oblivious. The sooner we recognize our blindness and come to Him for supernatural vision, the better.

It was this blindness of ours that prompted St. John to write his Gospel, to make his contribution to God’s prescription for the vision of faith. “Jesus performed many other signs as well–signs not recorded here–in the presence of His disciples. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name” (John 20:30-31, emphasis added).

We already had thousands of years of divine revelation pointing to Jesus:
“And God said to [Abram]: I AM, and My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4).

Now we need to “connect the dots”:
“Jesus said to [the Jews]: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM” (John 8:58).

The Jews could not fathom a man greater than Abraham. He was their founding father, their role model, one who spoke directly with God. Yet Jesus reminds them that Abraham was made. Abraham is a creature, limited by time. Jesus is I AM, the eternal, uncreated Being. He is the I AM Who created Abraham, and Who initiated the covenant with him. This is precisely what they refused to believe, signs or no signs.

Once again, the evidence is in. The choice is ours. We can believe if we are willing to do so. Will we adore and obey? Or pick up rocks?

May we live as true children of Abraham, rejoicing to see Jesus’ day (see John 8:56) as we faithfully fulfill our covenant with the great I AM.

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