During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.
April 7, 2022
Jesus said to the Jews,
51 “Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. 55 But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.
The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 8:51–59). (2006). Ignatius Press.
How have you tried to avoid or control God, the great I AM?
Any time we try to make God something other than who He is, we are on some level trying to control Him and avoid Him. We try to make Him into something small and accessible, rather than being in relationship with Him on His own terms, because we don’t want to be in relationship with Him as He is. If we treat God like some sort of cosmic vending machine, we are trying to control Him and avoid who He really is. If we say that He is an unknowable and impersonal force, denying the revelation that He gives us about His character through the prophets and apostles and the other writers of Scripture, we are trying to control Him and avoid who He really is. If we say that God condones actions that He calls sin, we are trying to control Him and avoid who He really is. If we say that we can say a little prayer to be saved and then go on sinning just like before without any consequences, we are trying to control Him and avoid who He really is.
Lord, let me love You for who You are. I want to be in eternal relationship with You, not with a counterfeit of my own design. Reveal to me the ways that I have tried to control You or avoid You, and turn my heart toward You as You are.