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Thursday, March 29, 2007

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Genesis 17:3-9
Psalm 105:4-9
John 8:51-59

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blasphemer or god?

"No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations." —Genesis 17:5

Abraham, unlike any other person in history, is the father of many nations. He is the father both of the Jewish people and of all Christians, because we have been grafted on to the tree of Judaism (Rm 11:17). Muslims also consider Abraham their father. Yet Jesus claimed to be greater than father Abraham, who rejoiced to see Jesus' day (Jn 8:56). People who heard this thought Jesus was extremely arrogant, if not insane. Jesus' claim would sound something like you claiming to be greater than St. Peter, St. Paul, Pope John Paul II, and Mother Teresa all rolled into one.

Then Jesus moved from the ridiculous to either the blasphemous or the sublime. He claimed to be not only greater than Abraham but the great I AM, God Himself (Jn 8:58). Then the people picked up rocks to throw at Jesus because of what seemed blasphemy (Jn 8:59).

We too are faced with this decision to call Jesus a blasphemer or to worship Him as God. All Christians have accepted Jesus' divinity theologically, but not all believe in His divinity practically. If we truly believe Jesus is God, we want to receive Him daily in Communion, devour His word (Jer 15:16), pray constantly, tell everyone about Him, and live a radically different life-style. In this next week, Holy Week, may we proclaim as the centurion did at Calvary: "Clearly this Man was the Son of God!" (Mk 15:39)

Prayer:  Jesus, "my Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28)

Promise:  "I solemnly assure you, if a man is true to My word he he shall never see death." —Jn 8:51

Praise:  Jane and Sam have ministered God's love to the mentally retarded for several decades.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006

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