I AM

Challenge: Accept without complaint any and every inconvenience you experience today, in gratitude to Jesus.
by Father Steven Reilly, LC | Source: Catholic.net


March 31, 2009 
Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent 

John 8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees: "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come." So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?" He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins." So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world." They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them, "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. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him." Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, the sacred time of your passion and death draws near. Help me to pray intensely, so that I can receive the many graces you have prepared for me. You are life and truth and goodness. You are also peace and mercy. How grateful I am to have this moment to turn to you. Without you I can do nothing good. In fact, when I do good, it is you working through me, despite my failings. Thank you, Lord. Here I am ready to love you more.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith and trust.

1. Ego Eimi: “I Am.”
When Moses stood marveling at the burning bush, he was simultaneously dreading the prospect of the mission God was giving him. How could he be prophet and a liberator unless he knew God’s name? “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). The divine name ¬– in Greek “Ego eimi” – evokes power, presence, and love. It gave Moses the confidence to go back to Egypt for the fateful showdown with the Pharaoh. So too for us: Jesus’ use of the divine name, while scandalous for his enemies, is a life-giving word for us.  Through faith, we experience the opposite effect of Jesus’ warning about unbelief: “If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” We believe in the “I AM” of Jesus; we have found life in his name.

2. God’s Weakness Is Greater than Man’s Strength.
"When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” In the Gospel of John, “lifting up” refers to the crucifixion. We could translate: When you crucify me, you’ll realize that I am God. That word is certainly fulfilled in the faith we have today. As we prepare for Holy Week, we contemplate Jesus’ love for us driving him to embrace the wood of the cross out of love for us. Who, except God, could be capable of such infinite love displayed in almost infinite “weakness”?
 
3. “Many Came to Believe in Him.”
The “I AM” of Jesus draws forth a response of faith. The contemplation of Jesus is vital for our spiritual lives. We want to believe, but we must continually nurture our faith. St Thomas Aquinas once remarked how he learned more from looking at the crucifix than from all the books he had ever read. Let’s strive to make this Holy Week one in which our faith takes a leap forward.

Dialogue with Christ:  Lord Jesus, you are my God and I worship you. I look at the crucifix, and I am reminded that when you are the weakest, your divine love shines through most intensely. Thank you for being “lifted up” for love of me!

Resolution: I will accept without complaint any and every inconvenience I experience today, in gratitude to Jesus.



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