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.
Lord, 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: May I hear your voice,
Lord, and not harden my heart to that which
you ask of me today.
1. The Real Enemy: Today
we find Jesus in animated conversation with the Jews.
They seem to discuss the same topic – death
— but in fact they refer to two very different
understandings of one reality. The Jews speak of death
in a material way, whereas Jesus speaks of it
in a spiritual way, with his description of death of
far greater consequence than the former. Christ warns us
about the gravity of spiritual death, which is the
consequence of serious sin. This is why the Church traditionally
prays, in the Litany of the Saints, to be
freed from mors perpetua (everlasting death), the spiritual death
which Jesus warned against. Lent is the time to
eradicate all forms of this evil from our lives,
especially through the positive practices of prayer, penance and almsgiving.
2. Only the Spirit Gives Life: Jesus’ interlocutors are
never able to penetrate the meaning of his words because
they think in a purely material way. Only with
a spirit of faith and the aid of the
Holy Spirit can we understand the things of God. Today’s
world is rife with what we could call a
spirit of materialism. It looks to material things and
values as the solution to everything. But have you noticed
how it seems that the more our material wealth
and technical capacity grow, the emptier we become on
the inside, and the more hollow our western culture becomes?
Material things are necessary, for we are part matter.
But a purely material explanation will never be able
to address the deeper needs of the human person. As
Christ said: “Only the Spirit gives life” (John 6:63).We
must strive to adopt a spiritual or supernatural way
of living and see ourselves and our world from this
point of view, so as not to become blind
to a truth that transcends matter.
3. Open to a
Challenge: Jesus’ challenge to raise the eyes of the heart
and soul to a spiritual level is met with
fierce opposition. In fact, his listeners want to stone
him! Christ always challenges us to go higher. And he
does this as a manifestation of his love. How
do I respond to this challenge in my own life?
Conversation with Christ: >
You have spoken,
in the silence of my night
your word has engraved your will in my heart.
Because you spoke,
there is a will in
you that I know:
It is the will of
I want to fulfill that will, Lord.
want to believe according to your doctrine.
hope according to your promises.
To love and
live according to your guidance and laws.
foster a more spiritual way of seeing myself, others and