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Showing posts from March 21, 2021

Jesus and Abraham: The Conversation Continues (John 8:48-59)

 Jesus saying that his opponents were not "of God" didn't go over too well. In a time when demon possession was more recognized than it is today, "you have a demon" is pretty much the same as, "You're crazy." Jesus denies that he has a demon, and speaks again about his relationship to the Father. What Jesus and St. John are doing is taking away the option of rejecting Jesus, and somehow worshiping the Father. Jesus says he does not seek his own glory, but that the Father does want to glorify Jesus. Why is it that anyone who keeps the word of Jesus will never see death? It's because we receive eternal life by receiving Jesus, and eternal life is the opposite of death. Even when our bodies die, our souls will not. It's actually a good question: "Are you greater than our father Abraham?" It's also a good idea to ask Jesus who he claims to be. As we read with an open mind and heart, we are actually having a conversation with Jesus

Let Me Walk, And Chew Gum At The Same Time

 Governor Ralph Northam, Democrat of Virginia, outlawed the death penalty in his state today. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Let's have a sidebar. You know, if you've never been a right-winger in America, you won't understand what it's like to put those pot-smoking, relativist, bleeding-hearts in their places, about whatever it is they overlook, especially abortion. I suppose I should say--again--that the philosophy and logic that underlies a pro-abortion position is still manifestly absurd. Whether it is driven by consequentialism, utilitarianism, or some combination of things, a human being cannot be intentionally destroyed, for convenience, "liberty," or any number of unworthy reasons. The next thing that is almost required to be said is that capital punishment and abortion are not alike, even if we reach a point where we do not accept either one. The Catholic Church--putative guardian of what makes for a good human life well lived--has recently stated its oppos

The Children of Father Abraham (John 8:39-47)

This section is an argument about Abraham, and who has been faithful to the message that Abraham received. In one sense, everyone in this audience was literally a descendant of Abraham. On the other hand, after St. John says that Jesus came to his own, but his own did not receive him (1:11) he adds, "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (1:12-13) Jesus invites and challenges the audience to be like Abraham, by believing in him. It goes without saying that trying to kill Jesus isn't compatible with receiving Jesus. You can almost hear the tension, when Jesus suggests that Abraham is not their father. They pick up on it, too, because they protest that they were born out of wedlock. Then they say that their true Father is God. Jesus disputes this, because he says that if God were their Father, they would receive him, because

The Truth Will Make You Free (John 8:31-38)

 It seems that there was a small group of Israelites that had believed and followed Jesus, but maybe they were getting pushback for doing that. I think Jesus is saying also that we have to continue in the grace that we have been given. The mystery is why the children of Israel have not received Jesus. St. John mentions this all the way back in 1:11. This is a mystery that we don't really start to get an answer to, until St. Paul considers it in his letter to the Romans. In any case, Jesus offers a close relationship to him to every person, regardless of their ethnicity. That had been the Father's will all along. Being a friend and disciple of Jesus can break any power of sin, even if we are "enslaved" to a sin, or to many sins. It is the divine power of Jesus that makes us free. Jesus again mentions his intimate relationship with the Father, which stirs opposition. Jesus knows that his fiercest opponents here aren't listening to God at all. He will go on to make t

Jesus Speaks About His Death (John 8:21-30)

Jesus knows that he is speaking to his most hostile audience. This is why he doesn't speak directly and obviously right here. Most of the time, Jesus doesn't say, "you will die in your sin." In this case, Jesus must have an insight into the hearts of the people he's talking to. Jesus mentions again that he is not from the earth, but that he has come from heaven. This of course sounds absurd to the hearers, but Jesus tells the truth, even if it is in a strange way. Jesus is again speaking about his special relationship to the Father. Jesus always does and says what is pleasing to the Father. Jesus mentions being "lifted up," and this reminds us of his conversation with Nicodemus in chapter 3. Jesus will be lifted up on the cross to die. He will rise again, and ascend into heaven. That's why his questioners here won't be able to find him. Remember also that "Son of Man" comes from the prophecy of Daniel. It's a divine title. Jesus is