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God's unexpected presence

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 29, 2012

In the Gospel read at today’s Mass (Jn 8:51-55), Jesus states more clearly than ever before that He is indeed the Messiah. The response from the Jews in the Temple is remarkable.

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.

Was there anyone in the crowd who heard the words of Jesus and believed? Anyone who wondered, at least, whether this really could be the Messiah? We don’t know. St. John’s account does make it clear that the majority quickly rejected the Lord’s claim. They resented it, actually, because Jesus did not fit their expectations for the Messiah.

This Gospel passage should be a warning to all of us. God never comes to us in the form we expect, because our puny minds can never embrace the grandeur of the Almighty. So when God presents Himself to us in an unfamiliar guise—as a servant rather than a ruler, as someone who needs help rather than someone doling out favors—do we recognize Him? Or do we resent the interference in our lives, and reach for stones?

 

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