Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The readings for Lent regularly link events of the Hebrew Scriptures to the person of Jesus as Messiah. Today’s readings from Genesis and John’s gospel connect the promise God made to Abraham to Jesus as the living fulfillment of that promise. But notice the response of those listening to Jesus that day in the Jerusalem temple. They were so enraged at Jesus’ words that they pick up rocks to throw at him.
This fifth Thursday of Lent 2014 we walk in Jesus’ footsteps as each of us moves in personal ways towards Holy Week. Am I ready to walk with Jesus into the events of his passion and death? In small or even larger ways do I shrink from Jesus’ invitation to stand with him…even as the rocks may come flying?
Can I open my heart as Jesus did, even to those who might want to challenge my faith in him or shrink my love for him? The way of the cross 2014 is indeed rocky, filled with potholes of all kinds. Jesus, I believe in you. Help my unbelief!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
My God, I am so fragile: my dreams get broken, my relationships get broken, my heart gets broken…
What can I believe except what Jesus taught: only what is first broken, like bread, can be shared; only what is first broken is open to your entry. My Jesus, help my unbelief. May I find courage to keep trying, even when I am tired. Amen!
—from For You, O God: A Book of Prayers © 1998, Loyola University Chicago