Thursday of the Fifth Week in Lent
(Genesis 17:3-9; John 8:51-59)
Albert Einstein once said, “Time exists so that everything does not happen at once.” That’s important. We get upset when two things happen at once – we’re preparing dinner and the doorbell rings. How could we ever cope with everything happening at the same time? But is it possible that someone exists outside of time? That one would have created time and everything else. Philosophers call this being who exists outside of time “God.” In the gospel today Jesus equates himself with that One, Being, or God. This is what he means by saying, “I Am.”
Of course, all this is difficult to comprehend. The Jews may be resisting belief in Jesus but not without cause. They ask, how can a man whose date of birth is known and who will one day die be God? That is another good question. There is an answer, however. The Son of God existed from all eternity but joined himself to a human body and soul two thousand years ago. He did this to redirect humanity from sin, which displeases God, to virtue which God favors. God’s becoming human demonstrates His great care for us.
The Jews rightly see Abraham as their father in faith. But Christians claim him as their father as well. Indeed, it is through Christ that Abraham has become the patriarch of many nations. But seeing prophecy’s fulfillment in the number of adherents that a religion has is a questionable enterprise since popularity hardly makes for truth. If Christ has fulfilled the hope of Abraham, it is because he brought peace among peoples. Although that peace often wobbles, we can see in what he taught and the way he lived the ideal which his followers have pursued with some success.