A reading from the gospel according to John 8:21-30:
21 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.”
22 So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
23 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.
24 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.”
25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
26 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.”
27 They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
28 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.
29 The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
30 Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Reflection: Knowing Jesus
1. The gospel of Saint John wants the readers to know who Jesus is. He is sent by the Father on a mission to save the world through suffering and death. In other words, the identity of Jesus cannot be thoroughly understood without the cross. He says, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.”
2. Jesus does not belong to this world. He belongs to the Father who sent Him. Therefore, His only concern is to please the one who sent Him. He is not afraid of anything because the one who sent Him is not only almighty but compassionate who will never leave Him alone.
3. Jesus claims to be the “I AM”, the name that the God of Moses revealed to be His identity. Thus, Jesus and God the Father are one (John 10:30). We will know God completely only through Jesus.
4. Refusing to believe that Jesus is the “I AM” means death. He says that unless we believe in Him, we will die in our sins.
5. We will search for Jesus but we will not see Him because of our sins. Unless we are made holy through the forgiveness of our sins, we cannot join Him in paradise. Therefore, let us humbly and continually ask for the forgiveness of our sins and do what pleases the Lord and then He will say, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
6. Who are you? This was the question thrown at Jesus. This is also an important question to throw at us. Who am I that Jesus would live and die for? To whom do I belong? Knowing Jesus is knowing ourselves.