Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
(Genesis 17:3-9; John 8:51-59)
A friend once expressed the wonder of seeing young people smoke and in other ways defy death. He was telling the story of a person who was “twenty-one, drunk, and never going to die.” Would that we could stave off death indefinitely! But we cannot, and for this reason many are curtailing livelihood, companionship, and recreation in face of the Corona-19 virus. Yet sooner or later we all die. And then what is there? In today’s gospel Jesus provides a way to overcome not death itself, but its permanence.
Jesus tells the people that if they keep his word, they “’will never see death.’” He means that death will not wash away their existence forever. He is promising them eternal life with the resurrection of the dead. He offers as witness to the truth of his statement the patriarch Abraham. Abraham is alive for the faith he held. It is the same faith that Jesus preaches (his word).
Keeping the word of Jesus, we love one another as he loved us. In the supper he shared with his friends the night before he died, Jesus gives more specific instructions. We are to wash one another’s feet. No, not literally, but figuratively. We are to always help one another, even inconveniencing ourselves doing so.