Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent

John 8:51-59

Jesus and Abraham

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

The Jewish authorities were prejudiced against Jesus; they even envied Him because of the recognition and affirmation given Him by the people. their feeling of envy had blinded them to accept and believe the things revealed by our Lord.

This unbelief had led them to judge Jesus falsely and accuse Him of blasphemy because He claimed to be God. Indeed, they went so far as to pick up stones with the intention of murdering Him.

Today’s gospel account reminds me of Jesus’ teaching in Matt 1:7: “Judge not that you be not judged.” At times Christians are the most critical individuals known. Judging others is one of the favourite pastimes of people nowadays, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is so devastating that it can break the strength of the one being criticized. It even serves to make us harsh, vindictive, cruel and leaves us with the flattering idea that we are somehow superior to others.

We must always remember that every wrong thing that we see in others has an equivalent in ourselves. Thus, everytime we judge, we condemn our own selves. So we have to stop applying a measuring stick to other people; for at least there is one more dimension which we know nothing about, in every person’s life situation. (Fr. Romy Benitez, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Sometimes ago I had a rare privilege of witnessing a beautiful death. His final hours of agony before his final breath, to all of us present, was a powerful witness of what Jesus said: “…He will never taste death.”

Carl knew of his impending death even months before he was finally bedridden with colon cancer. An operation added some three more years or so. The additional time however became a turning point in his life, from a self-centered life to a God-centered life. From this time on, God led him to witness his physical pain as a way to unite with Jesus crucified, and to share his newly discovered faith and love for God. Those who came to hear his testimony were encouraged to glorify God and to believe that physical change or death is a passage to a new life.

Jesus claims He has a unique knowledge of God and a unique obedience to God. The Jews were shocked to hear Him say, “Before Abraham was, I am. Truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my words, he will never see death.”

Jesus was not talking about physical death. He was talking about those who believe and who fully accepts Him; they will find that death has lost its finality. To the last dying moments of his life, Carl did not waver in entrusting everything to God. He died happy and confident amidst his physical pain. “Fr. Ben Limsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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….The Jews in Jesus’ time did not realize how rich they really were with Jesus in their midst. This Lenten season reminds us too that we are rich in God’s love and goodness, a time to count our blessings! Pope Benedict XVI puts it: “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary!” (Fr. Deva Savariyappan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Whenever Jesus and His fellow Jews meet, it is logic, again, against truth.

“Are you greater that our father, Abraham?” a lot is implied in this question. Abraham, the greatest of the prophets, was believed to have a vision in his lifetime of the whole history of Israel and the coming of the Messiah. How could Jesus have encountered Abraham who lived 1,700 years ago? He is hardly 50! A good repartee this, so Jesus goes further and more deeply. “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be I am.” He does not say I was but I am. He has no past, He has no future, only the present. He is continuous existence and constant presence. It’s all very clear, His divinity, but the Jews fail to follow Him to the final truth. Jesus cannot testify for Himself as the life-giving word. The Jews cannot comprehend how He can be greater than Abraham. There’s still the Father. He knows the Father who glorifies Him, the God of His fellow Jews. They do not know the Father, how can they know Jesus? Jesus can offer life, cite Abraham and call on the Father. Still their narrow-mindedness and prejudices have compromised their intelligibility. That’s why “they picked stones to throw at Him.”

We, professed followers of Christ, do not want to be like Jesus’ own people. all the same, we do reject Him in many and varied forms. How much do we profit from His life in word and sacrament? How convinced are we in defending the divinity of Christ before many sects, Muslim and the Iglesia ni Kristo who say that Christ was only a man? How quickly, spontaneously do we prejudice fellow Christians simply because they differ from us? Christ was not acceptable to His own people because He was not only they wanted to be. (Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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March 17, 2016 Thursday

Dictators and oppressors usually hate the truth. They go out of their way to stife it, to shut the mouth of those who proclaim it. And in order to bury the truth, more often than not, they literally bury those who proclaim it.

Truth has a quality that makes the most powerful oppressor tremble in fear. He is deathly afraid of the truth. For deep in his heart he knows that no power could ever sti e or bury the truth. For when the truth comes, it would expose his cowardice and fears.

The leader of the Jews and the Pharisees were afraid of Jesus. They were afraid of losing their power and authority. They knew in their heart that what Jesus was saying was the truth but they didn’t want to listen to it. In their argument against Jesus, they wanted to seize the moral high ground by name-dropping Abraham and the prophets, and invoking the covenant.

Jesus on the other hand knew his word was life and anyone who would keep his word would have eternal life. In his argument against the elders and the Pharisees, Jesus did not mean to put them down; rather, to appeal to them to open their hearts to the truth as they too could have life. Jesus had to reveal who he really was in order to win the Jews but they would not accept him.

The religious leaders of the Jews, like tyrants and oppressors anywhere, would rather cling to their power and authority rather than listen to the truth and be changed.

Let us take stock of ourselves. Are we so concerned with our power and authority and so afraid that these be eroded that we sometimes sti e the truth? (Fr. Hernan Suico, SVD (Cebu City Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/525-march-17-2016-thursday

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March 29, 2012

St. Gladys
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
VIOLET

Gn 17:3-9
Ps 105
Jn 8:51-59

Jesus and Abraham 

[Jesus said to the Jews,] 51“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” 52[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.’ 53Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54Jesus 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.’ 55You 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. 56Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” 58Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” 59So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

Reflection:

Jesus hid and went out. When the Jews persist in knowing who Jesus is, Jesus declares, “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.” “I AM” is a divine name. Only Yahweh can use and speak the name. In the scene of the burning bush, when Moses asks God for identification, Yahweh declares, “I am who am” (Ex 3:14).

When Jesus uses the divine name, he is saying that he is not only above Abraham but equal with God. He is at the beginning with God. But the Jews cannot accept this; for them it is a blasphemy. So they start to pick up stones to throw at Jesus.

Jesus hides and goes out—not because he is afraid or is unwilling to face the consequence of his actions, but because it is not yet his time. His hour has not yet come. This hour signifies his forthcoming passion and glorification. Jesus works according to the Father’s plan.

Lent is a graced opportunity to pause

from busy schedules and focus on God.

ssp.ph/index.php/365-Days-with-the-lord/march-29-2012.html

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THE PROMISE:“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant…” – Genesis 17:7

Her husband promised that he would take care of her and their family. He fulfilled that by being a very good provider. But suddenly, he suffered a massive heart attack and died. During the wake, a man approached the wife to inform her that her husband had called him to sell a land property so that his family would be provided for. When she asked the date and time of the call, it was when her husband was already unconscious, if not dead. Her husband fulfilled his promise to take care of his family even when it was physically impossible to do so.

The covenant we make when we get married is as binding as the covenant God made with Abraham. It transcends time, generations and physical barriers. God keeps His promise to take care of us even if we are unfaithful at times. There may be some who don’t even live godly lives but remain abundantly blessed. Maybe he or she had a godly parent or grandparent who prayed for his children or grandchildren, and God is honoring that person’s prayer. The blessing will continue to trickle down the generations because God is faithful to His convenant even when we are not. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)

Reflection: Let’s make sure that our descendants will continue to be blessed by being the covenant keeper of our generation.

Father, thank You for honoring my mother’s faithfulness. I am reaping the blessing because of what she has done.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-10

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1ST READING: Abraham means “father of the nations,” whereas Abram means, “father of a nation.” The promises offered to Abram by God are not just for him and his descendants but have relevance for all nations. As Paul will point out in the fourth chapter of his Letter to the Romans, Abraham is the father in faith for all men and women, not just the Jews. Genesis 17:3-9

GOSPEL: The Jewish leaders fail to comprehend the spiritual significance of the words of Jesus. We live in a materially obsessed world and so our spiritual side can easily suffer. Let us be aware of this pitfall and do our best not to allow our desire for material possessions to overwhelm our need for spiritual nourishment.John 8:51-59

think:  Let us do our best not to allow our desire for material possessions to overwhelm our need for spiritual nourishment.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-10

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“BEFORE ABRAHAM… I AM!” The good Lord has just gifted me with something that I never planned and imagined. Concurrent with the celebration of my 25th year as a priest in April 2013, I had another chance to tour important places in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal with 34 Filipino pilgrims. Though the journey was dubbed essentially as a Marian Pilgrimage, the itinerary included visits to picturesque churches, cathedrals and basilicas in Rome, Pisa, Florence, Paris, Burgos, Madrid and Barcelona. It is a pity that we simply had to go in — “gobble up” the various mosaics, stained glass windows, paintings, and altar tableaus with our admiring eyes and high resolution cameras. The artworks in many of the churches are actually a source of rich theological and spiritual insights. One, however, needs to settle down and contemplate details, and note how these details are coordinated.

A very important character of the altar pieces is that they narrate, illustrate and demonstrate to common people at a time when many could not read: how Jesus’ incarnation, ministry and passion bring the scattered events of the Old Testament to fulfillment and unity. For instance, the birth of Jesus through Mary comes at the end of a long line of mysterious births in the Bible, all made possible by divine intervention. The attempted sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham is represented as a pattern of Jesus’ sacrifice in Calvary to follow the Father’s will. The saving Cross of Jesus is prefigured by Moses’ act of curing rebellious Israelites through the figure of a brazen serpent hanging from a pole. The thesis is clear: The whole Bible, its many prophecies and events, are all summed up in one word: “Jesus.”

Jesus, His earthly life and mission, launched the creativity of artists, artisans and builders of various ages. Indeed, He is the “I AM,” the Alpha and the Omega. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you personally express your unique devotion to Jesus? What mysteries and events in the earthly life of Jesus do you take as motif for your own experiences in life?

Lord, help me to drink in the mystery of Your life and may it inspire me to follow You more closely and love You more dearly.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-10

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SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT – 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.’” – John 8:54

The more I have grown in years, the more I have come to realize just how proud a person I am. It is always a painful realization when an incident would bring home this point. At the same time, it is a liberating experience because to become less proud is to become more grounded — I become a more authentic human being.

Jesus has all the right to boast or to glorify Himself. After all, He and the Father are one — He is God. And yet He did not. He deferred to God the Father to glorify Him.

That lack of a sense of entitlement is the hallmark of humility. It is a wonderful thing to see it in a human being, in a family or in a culture. It is also a hallmark of greatness, for there is no true greatness if it is not grounded in humility.

When we start to think of our hard-earned things — be it money, position, etc. — reflect on today’s verse. Then pause before you start to puff yourself up. Joyce Sosoban-Roa (jsosoban@gmail.com)

Reflection: “O Lord, You mete out peace to us, for it is You who have accomplished all we have done.” (Isaiah 26:12)

Let me be grounded, Lord. Teach me, Lord, Your ways. Make me humble like You. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-03-17

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IMITATING JESUS – One of the earliest controversies that the Church faced happened in the fourth century. This arose soon after the recognition of the Church by Constantine — the divinity of Christ was questioned in a heresy that we would come to know as Arianism. This may appear strange in our modern eyes because we have long embraced Jesus as the Son of God who shares the Father’s divinity. But this is not really a thing of the past, as some sects in the present still choose to reduce Jesus to a mere prophet or just a man. But the Bible is not lacking in proof to this fact. “In the New Testament and in the Church teaching, Jesus of Nazareth appears as the Son of God. This name He took to Himself (Matthew 11:27; John 10:36), while the Fourth Gospel (John’s) declares Him to be the Word (Logos), Who in the beginning was with God and was God, by whom all things were made” (New Advent).

These people’s refusal to acknowledge Jesus’ divinity can find resonance in the experience of the Jews during His time. They just couldn’t fathom Jesus’ own revelation of Himself and so they resorted to eliminating Him instead (John 8:59). But He is not “just” a prophet — He is greater than all the prophets. Even Abraham rejoiced that he would see His day, Jesus says. Jesus’coup de grace in this whole debacle is, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.” This expresses not just His pre-existence but His divine nature with His use of the Hebrew phrase that Yahweh applied to Himself (“I Am who Am”).

So if Jesus is God, what does this give us? He became like us that we may become like Him. Having been created in the image and likeness of God, becoming like God is simply going back to our true nature. Jesus has shown us how to do this. And we need to follow suit. Fr. Sandy V. Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: Which of the character traits of Jesus do you want to have in your life?

Lord Jesus, I ask for the grace to imitate Your _________ (name here the trait; for example, humility, courage, prayerfulness). Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-03-17

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My Reflection for Thursday April 10, Fifth Week of Lent, John 8:51-59

Reflection: What does Jesus gives us? Eternal life, we believe that if we have faith in Jesus we will never die. Yes we literally die through our physical death but after that we believe that we will be with Jesus in heaven to live eternally.

Among other reasons to believe in Jesus we primarily believe and love Jesus because we want to be with Him in heaven someday. But there are still many who do not believe in Jesus, yes they know Jesus but they don’t believe in Jesus.  Same as with the Jews in our gospel who did not believed Jesus. When He told them that He already have seen Abraham and yet they didn’t believed Him they even had the temerity to throw stone at Him (John 8:57-59).

So what must we do to those who know Jesus but do not believe or they believe in Jesus. But their belief is in name only; we must therefore bring them closer to Jesus and to our faith. For example this coming Holy Week let us encourage them to attend the many liturgical celebrations in our respective parishes.

Such as the way of the cross, the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, The institution of the Eucharist in the afternoon, the Veneration of the Holy Cross during good Friday and the Easter Vigil Mass during black Saturday.

Let us not keep to ourselves and our faith and love for Jesus let us share it so that others may know Him deeply.  (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-reflection-for-thursday-april-10.html

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Reflection for March 17, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:51-59

Reflection: What does Jesus gives us? Eternal life, we believe that if we have faith in Jesus we will never die. Yes we literally die through our physical death but after that we believe that we will be with Jesus in heaven to live eternally.

Among other reasons to believe in Jesus we primarily believe and love Jesus because we want to be with Him in heaven someday. But there are still many who do not believe in Jesus, yes they know Jesus but they don’t believe in Jesus.  Same as with the Jews in our gospel who did not believe Jesus when He told them that He already had seen Abraham and yet they didn’t believe Him they even had the temerity to throw stone at Him (John 8:57-59).

So what must we do to those who know Jesus but do not believe or they believe in Jesus but their belief is in name only? We must therefore bring them closer to Jesus and to our faith. For example this coming Holy Week, let us encourage them to attend the many liturgical celebrations in our respective parishes. For this surely will strengthen their union with Jesus and the church that He Himself founded.

Liturgical celebration such as the Way of the Cross, the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, The institution of the Eucharist in the afternoon, the Veneration of the Holy Cross during good Friday and the Easter Vigil Mass during black Saturday. Let us not keep to ourselves our faith and love for Jesus let us share and live it as well. So that others may have an awareness of Jesus through us.

Will you be present in all of the Liturgical celebration this coming Holy Week?   – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/03/reflection-for-march-17-thursday-of.html

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WORD Today (Gen 17:3-9; John 8:51-59): When Moses (1400BC) asked God for His name, He said: “I AM who I AM….this is my Name forever,” (Ex 3:13-15). When the Jews asked Christ who he was, he said: “Amen, I say to you, before Abraham was born (2000BC), I AM.” (John 8:58)

Many Jews wanted to kill Christ for saying He was God. But a few did believe and they became Christians. But believing His is God is just the first step. Christ said: “Amen I say to you, whoever obeys my teaching will never die,” (John 8:51). To obey means to listen, welcome, embrace and live Christ’s Words. Let’s commit to LISTEN to all His teachings, not just the one we like; WELCOME His instructions with gladness, not objections; EMBRACE His commands, not just His sweet promises and LIVE them all, not just the bare minimum! (Fr. Iko Bajos – April 10, 2014)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT (YEAR C) – JUAN 8:51-59. UNSA MANG MATANGA SA KAMATAYON ANG ANGAY NATONG KAHADLOKAN? Adunay duha ka klase sa kamatayon: Ang una mao ang kamatayong lawasnon, nga masinati sa tanang mga tawo ning kalibotan; Ang ikaduha mao ang kamatayong espirituhanon, nga maoy atong dangatan kon kita magpabilin diha sa pagpakasala. Ang naulahing matang sa kamatayon mao ang gihisgotan ni Hesus sa Iyang pag-ingon, “Ang magtuman sa akong gisulti dili gayod mamatay.” Nga sa ato pa, kon kita mosunod sa Iyang mga kasugoan, dili gayod kita makasinati og kamatayong espirituhanon. Adunay nag-ingon, “Many people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75.” Adunay mga tawo nga buhi pa ang lawas, pero patay na ang espiritu bisan sa ilang kabatan-on tungod sa pagpakasala; ang uban tungod sa kawalay pagtoo ug paglaum. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/03/thursday-of-5th-week-of-lent-year-c.html

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Thursday, March 17

Gen 17: 3-9; Jn.8: 51-59

Before Abraham was I am

.”   The Jews believed that they were religious people, and enjoyed being the chosen people of God.   How could they accept the argument of Jesus to be the Son of God? Jesus was indirectly articulating to them that He was the Messiah.  It is the literal mindedness of Jews which blocked their intelligence.  Throughout the Bible we find the maximum usage of symbolic language and parables.   Unless and until the grace is given by God we cannot accept the revelations.   To accept or to realize Jesus as the Son of God we need the humility to hear with our heart than with our head.   The fourth Gospel urges us to come down from the rational level to the affective level to submit ourselves to the Lord.  Here Jesus did not say, “Before Abraham was, I was,” but before Abraham was, I am.” Which means Jesus is timeless.  There never was a time He came into being; there never will be a time when He is not in being.

There is only one person in the world that is timeless: and that one person is God. What Jesus is saying here is nothing less than that the life in Him is the life of God. He is saying that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We see in Him the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,   who is looking at us and talking to us or revealing to us.     Pope Francis often says to be in front of the tabernacle with folded hands and experience Jesus. We are not able to comprehend what is happening today especially, the human bomb explosions in the two churches in Lahore on March 15, 2015 where 15 people were killed, the killing of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya on February 15, the persecution of Iraqi Christians and similar incidents of the recent past cannot be comprehended by normal human intelligence. Let us seek God’s blessings to understand why tragedies are taking place one after another.   We need God’s intervention in this world now and always.    Let us seek God’s blessing for the conversion of the people who are behind the killing of innocent people in the name of religion. Fr. Sany Kannampuzha CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-03-17

 

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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