An Astounding Claim
Readings: Gen 17:3-9; Jn 8:51-59
"Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." Jn 8:58
Overstepping the bounds of our rightful authority can be self-deceptive and even dangerous for us.
In 1981, shortly after President Ronald Reagan was shot, then Secretary of State Alexander Haig came on television and made the extraordinary statement, "As of now, I am in control here, in the White House."
Of course, he wasn't. And his rash action would lead to the end of his political career. If anyone had addressed the nation after the assassination attempt, it should have been then Vice President George Bush. Political commentator Martin Anderson said of this incident, "We all knew what Haig was doing. Had he announced that he wanted to address the nation from the press room, he would have been overruled. Haig's quaint notion that he was in control was a fantasy existing only in his mind."
When Jesus made the claim "before Abraham came to be, I AM," the Jewish leaders of His day considered Him an upstart rabbi whose claim was blasphemous and deserving of death by stoning. Not only was He claiming to be greater than Abraham, they knew He was also claiming to be divine. He was clearly identifying Himself with the name of Yahweh that had been revealed to Moses: "I am who am" (Ex 3:14).
The irony, of course, was that the Jews missed their hour of visitation. Jesus' claim, unlike Haig's, was right on target. He was claiming His rightful authority as the Son of God and the Messiah, who had come to fulfill the very promises given to Abraham, the great patriarch.
What about us? We are bombarded by so many astounding claims through the media that we can tend to tune out every claim we hear. This Lent, are we listening to Jesus?
Jesus, I believe that You are the great I AM. I rejoice with the patriarch Abraham that You came as the Messiah. All the promises of God's word point to You. Amen.
Diary of St. Faustina