March 30, 2023
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings for Today
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. John 8:58–59
When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, God revealed His name: I AM. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that this revelation of God’s name “is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name.” It expresses that God is “infinitely above everything that we can understand or say.” He is the “hidden God.” He is also a “God who makes himself close to men” at each and every moment of our lives (See CCC #206).
In our Gospel today, Jesus identifies Himself with this hidden God. He states that He alone knows His Father and that the Father glorifies Him because He is the great I AM. To the people of that time, this was a shocking revelation, at least to those who failed to comprehend this truth in faith. But that mysterious name reveals to us not only the essence of God, it also reveals how we ought to relate to this infinite, hidden, exalted and glorious God.
As Jesus revealed His identity, He did not say, “before Abraham came to be, I was.” He says, “I AM.” This reveals that Jesus not only existed before Abraham, but that His existence transcends all time. He always and everywhere IS. Though this might seem overly philosophical to some, it is an important concept to understand for two important reasons. First, it gives us greater insight into God. But, second, it reveals to us how we ought to relate to God every day.
God is not a God of the past. He is not a God of the future. He is a God of the present moment. If we are to enter into a relationship with God, then we must realize that we can only encounter Him in the present moment. He is the Here and Now, so to speak. And we must seek Him here and now, in this present moment alone.
Sometimes we find ourselves dwelling on the past. To the extent that our past has helped or hurt us in this present moment, we need to address it. But the way this is done is by seeking God’s healing grace today, allowing the past to disappear into His abundant mercy. Other times we try to live in the future, becoming anxious about what is to come. But God does not dwell in the future for, to Him, all time is here and now. Therefore, we ought not to become anxious about the future, worry about it or try to live in it now. All we have is this present moment, and it is in this moment that God comes to meet us. He is here, and we must meet Him here, turning to Him and His grace today.
Reflect, today, upon this deep and mysterious revelation from our Lord. Think about his identity as the great “I AM.” Ponder that name. Ponder its meaning. See it as a way by which Jesus is inviting you to encounter Him in this present moment alone. Live in this moment. The past is gone; the future is not yet here. Live where God exists, here and now, for that is the only place that you will meet our Lord.
My Lord, You are the Great I Am. You transcend all time. Help me to meet You today, to let go of the past, to look forward to the future, and to live with You in this moment alone. As I meet You here, dear Lord, help me to love You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.
40 Days at the Foot of the Cross:
A Gaze of Love From the Heart of Our Blessed Mother
Reflection Thirty-Four – “I Thirst”
(Thurs. of Fifth Week of Lent)
Scripture Meditations for Lent
Featured image above: The Jews Took Up Rocks to Stone Jesus By James Tissot, via Brooklyn Museum