Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Know yourselves

Gospel John 8:31-42 

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home
you will indeed be my disciples,
you will learn the truth
and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
everyone who commits sin is a slave.
Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured,
but the son’s place is assured.
So if the Son makes you free,
you will be free indeed.
I know that you are descended from Abraham;
but in spite of that you want to kill me
because nothing I say has penetrated into you.
What I, for my part, speak of
is what I have seen with my Father;
but you, you put into action
the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children,
you would do as Abraham did.
As it is, you want to kill me
when I tell you the truth
as I have learnt it from God;
that is not what Abraham did.
What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me,
since I have come here from God;
yes, I have come from him;
not that I came because I chose,
no, I was sent, and by him.

And these are the 'Jews' who believe in him?

What is that they believe - that he is a prophet; an agitator; possibly a zealot; hopefully someone who, at least, could help free them from the Roman persecution?

That Jesus has come to justify them?

 But Jesus keeps talking about love and forgiveness and sin; he takes no pride in his abilities claiming that he relies on the Father; not only relies but belongs to the Father- is obedient to the Father -is pride-less.

The 'Jews' are not pride-less. They count themselves children of Abraham; chosen ones waiting for God's promises to them to be kept. 

And in the meantime? 

In the meantime, they keep themselves 'chosen' by excluding others. Abraham was promised as many descendants as the stars in heaven, but he lived with the uncertainly that he was going the right way; that he was in the right place. His children have been keeping  people in their place, far from the stars; feet firmly on the ground. 

'Born of prostitution'? Jesus is telling then they have 'sold themselves out'. They have decided on an us and them look at life. Believing that God acts only in this way or that; treating others as less than themselves; deciding where salvation comes from. Their 'Father' has become 'Certainty, Pride and Judgment'. 

God has become consigned to a box behind a curtain - even He is excluded. 

And these are the people who believe in him? In Mark 9, the father of the sick boy says 'I do believe, help my unbelief.' 

I am not certain but I have faith. 



claire said...

I have faith too, mairie.
As I read your post, enjoying every bit of it, and seeing what you were saying of the Pharisees, it dawned on me that so much of our Catholic Church is also excluding people, making them feel less than they are...

Or am I just dreaming?


Word in the Hand said...

No Claire, I think the idea of them and us where 'we' whoever we are are 'us' is a continuing issue. I find less so in the small communities where people do accept each other - or i am lucky - but once it moves into the organisational stage - very easy to find reasons to exclude (or favour).
Blessings to you.

Jade said...

God is an inclusive God, I like to say. He doesn't judge the same way that a lot of people do. Great post!