“Are you greater than our father Abraham?” Though they believe him, these Jews find Jesus baffling. What gets in the way is that they cling so tightly to their identity as Abraham’s children. Though we believe, Jesus baffles us too. Much gets in the way as Jesus keeps inviting us into more.
What is Abraham for you, an identity or feeling to which you cling so tightly that it blocks everything else? What is getting in the way between you and Jesus?
Perhaps it’s heritage or connection or networks. Perhaps it’s the people we love or who love us best, meaningful relationships. Perhaps it’s comfort or privilege, standard of living, status or success. Perhaps it’s abilities, gifts, how we serve, what we do well.
Or maybe it’s not something we have. Maybe we are like Moses before the burning bush, caught up by what we don’t have: I can’t talk well. I don’t know what to say. Perhaps we are too focused on our limits, losses, pain, or weakness.
In our gospel text today, Jesus responds to the baffled and blocked believers by saying: “Before Abraham was, I am.” Before, beyond, far bigger, Jesus is.
What is getting in the way between you and Jesus? It doesn’t matter what you have or what you lack. Before your heritage or privilege or ability, Jesus is. Before your limits or losses or inability, Jesus is. It doesn’t matter what you feel. Before your fear or grief, confidence or confusion, Jesus is.
Jesus is love. Jesus loves and calls us.
How will we respond? Today we remember Mary. Though baffled by the word that she would bear God’s son, she didn’t let confusion, fear, what she had nor what she did not have get in the way to block God’s invitation. Though baffled, may we respond to Jesus’ love and call today like Mary, bravely saying “Yes.”
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