Thursday 7 April 2022 – WHO IS GREATER THAN ABRAHAM?

5th Week of Lent

1st Reading: Gen 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:  “My covenant with you is this: you are to become the father of a host of nations.  No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations.  I will render you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings shall stem from you.  I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.  I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now staying, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.”  God also said to Abraham: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

Gospel: Jn 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews: “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.

Greater than Abraham: Abraham is great because he had total trust and faith in God. He even won the title father of faith. Yet even in all these, Jesus is greater than Abraham. He is the Word of God that is full of life. Jesus therefore, challenges the Jews who contradict themselves: on the one hand they believe in Abraham and hold him with esteem as God’s servant. On the other hand, they reject Jesus, who comes from God and is God, and even desire to eliminate Him. Woe unto them that refuse to believe that Jesus is the Word and life that comes from heaven! Such a person rejects the fullness of life, rejects salvation and Eternal Life. How many times do we reject this Life and even desire to live a life away from Jesus? Let us recognise and rejoice in the presence of Jesus.

Prayer: Jesus help me to enter in your passion in order o attain everlasting life.

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KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT: The call of Abraham made him a partner of a covenant relationship with God. He was ready to move trusting in a promise. All the descendants of Abraham are called in faith to be keepers and livers of the covenant with God. Jesus, in the Gospel seals this covenant with a promise of never seeing death. He lives the covenant i.e, he lives in right relationship with God and invites his followers to do the same. In living this relationship with God, we realize our true self as children of a loving Father. The Jews threw stones at him. On one hand they demonstrate their hatred but on the other hand they manifest their own self-hatred, for they claim to be descendants of Abraham.

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BEFORE ABRAHAM CAME TO BE, I AM: As we move towards the end of the season of Lent, the gospel narratives bring to fore the tension between Jesus and the leaders of the Jews even more intensely. This would ultimately contribute to the crucifixion of Jesus. At the core of this conflict are the statements of Jesus “I AM”. In the Book of Exodus (3:14), the Lord God revealed himself to Moses as the “I AM WHO I AM (Yahweh)”. When Jesus makes his “I AM” statements, as he does in the gospel text of today, the leaders of the Jews exactly understand what he means. This is blasphemy. He needs to be stoned to death. But as the gospel text tells us today, it is not yet time. Let us keep accompanying Jesus in his last days on earth. But Jesus is not going to hide his true identity for fear of death.