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First Thursday of Passiontide

April 14, 2011

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)

Readings:
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)

Whom do you make yourself out to be?
-John 8:53

Good question. In fact, it’s the critical question of all time,
the question St. John illuminates for us as the time of Jesus’ Passion draws near (see John 20:30-31).

Who is Jesus?

Everything hinges on the answer…and our response.

Abraham recognized Him.

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he might see My day.
He saw it and rejoiced
-John 8:56

Abram prostrated himself
-Genesis 17:2

His descendants (biologically speaking) did not.

they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus
-John 8:59

Guess who got the blessing.

When God appeared to Abram to establish the covenant,
that worthy man fell flat on his face in adoration,
then faithfully carried out the terms of the covenant
by circumcising every male of his household.

When God appeared to his 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…).

It’s no accident that the very next thing Jesus did was to heal a man born blind.
He was giving them an object lesson.
He was surrounded by blind men who thought they could see.

We’re faced with the same question.

Who is Jesus?

On top of all the evidence we’ve already seen, John sheds this light on our blindness:

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

Jesus said to [the Jews]: Amen, amen I say to you,
before Abraham was made, I AM
-John 8:58

Abraham was made.
Abraham is a creature, limited by time.
Jesus is I AM, the eternal, uncreated Being Who created Abraham,
Who initiated the covenant with him.
Jesus is God.

The evidence is in.
We can believe if we are willing to do so.
But it’s our choice.

Ultimately there’s no middle ground when it comes to God.
We will adore and obey with Abraham…
or crucify.

Let’s go for the blessing.

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