March 26, 2015

Gospel JN 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
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.
Have you ever had a difference of opinion with someone and it seems as if you’re speaking two different languages? You may feel like saying, “It’s as if we’re discussing apples and oranges.”
That seems to be what is going on in today’s gospel reading.
Referring to eternal life, Jesus says, “Whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
His adversaries reply that Abraham and the prophets died and ask if he is saying he is greater than them.
Those opposed to Jesus are so intent on refuting him that they are not listening to what he is saying.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “Pay attention, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but cannot see, and have ears, but cannot hear.”
These same challenges exist for us today.
I recently viewed a video on a panel discussion about what qualities are desirable in a person being considered for a position on a board of directors. One of the most important qualities was the ability to listen.
This is the lesson in today’s gospel for me.
At times, I can be very much like the Jews of Jesus’ day, hearing what I want to hear.
Listening to God and to people is a skill that I need to continue to cultivate.
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” Simone Weil