REFLECTION FOR TODAY
March 23, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him. Jn. 8:30
Jesus was direct and on point when it comes to speaking against the evil and hypocrisies of the Pharisees. Prior to our gospel reference today he had told the Pharisees, they will die in their sin and declares that when the Son of Man is lifted up, they will realize who he is.
Jesus had been teaching the people in more and deeply profound ways about Who He was. He had referred to Himself as the “bread of life,” the “living water,” the “light of the world,” and He even took upon Himself the ancient title of God “I AM.”
Jesus continually identified Himself with the Father in Heaven as His Father with Whom He was perfectly united and by Whom He was sent into the world to do His will. For example, Jesus states clearly, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me”. And it was because of this that many came to believe in Him. But why?
The teachings of Jesus remain mysterious, deep and veil. After speaking this profound truth about himself, some listeners came to believe in Him, while others become hostile to Him. What is the difference between those who believe and those who ultimately kill Jesus?
The simple answer is faith. Both those who came to believe in Jesus and those who orchestrated and supported His murder heard the same teaching of Jesus. Yet their reactions were so different.
The same is true for us today. Just like those who heard these teachings for the first time from Jesus’ own lips, we also are presented with the same teaching. We are given the same opportunity to listen to His words and either receive them with faith or reject them or be indifferent. Are you one of the many who came to believe in Jesus because of these words?
Faith is a gift. It’s not just a blind choice to believe. It’s a choice based on seeing. But it is a seeing made possible only by an interior revelation from God to which we give our assent. Thus, Jesus as the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the great I AM, the Light of the World, and the Son of the Father will only make sense to us and will only have an effect upon us when we are open to and receive the interior light of the gift of faith. Without that openness and reception, we will remain either hostile or indifferent.
Reflect, today, upon the deep, veiled and mysterious language of God. When you read this language, especially in the Gospel of John, what is your reaction? Ponder your reaction carefully; and, if you find you are any less than one who has come to understand and believe, then seek the grace of faith this day so that our Lord’s words will powerfully transform your life.
Lord Jesus, Your teaching about Who You are is beyond human reason alone. It is deep, mysterious and glorious beyond all understanding. Please give me the gift of faith so that I may come to know Who You are as I ponder the richness of Your holy Word. I believe in You, dear Lord. Help my unbelief. Jesus, I trust in You.