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.
I vividly remember one day when there was a broken article in the house and my mother confronted me: “Karl, was that you?” I responded: “Yes.” She said: “Karl, you cannot lie to me, can you?” “No”, I admitted. My confession may sound honest or contrite, but note that I was contrite only after being caught.
In the Gospel today, Jesus openly proclaims that he is not a liar, but the Messiah of God who promises that his followers “will never taste death.” For Jesus to make such a promise was both shocking and laughable. Then he dares to claim to be sent by God. The Jewish authorities responded: “Blasphemy!” Yet we Catholics profess the resurrection of the dead each Sunday and in each rosary. “Jesus, are you lying to us?” He looks at us and says: “Put your hand into my side and believe.”
—Fr. Karl Voelker, SJ, is on the staff of the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.
I believe in the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and life everlasting. Amen
—End of the Apostles’ Creed