5th Thursday in Lent
Genesis 17: 3 – 9; Ps 105; John 8: 51 – 59
In a previous verse of the Gospel we are told: “Jesus is speaking to those who believed in Him.” In today’s Gospel, in which Jesus speaks strongly and very pointedly, one could wonder what these Jews believed about Him – His miracles, His words?
But Jesus, it appears, desires to take them deeper, into His very identity, to His pre-existence, into Eternal Life: “Amen, amen I say to you before Abraham came to be, I AM!” His words intended for their good did just the opposite; they were ready to stone Him for blasphemy. However, His hour had not yet come; He hid, He left for now.
In strong contrast to this scene is the scene from Genesis, Abram, in humility, with a receptive heart prostrates himself and God speaks to him. With extravagant love God makes seven promises to this man now named Abraham and the last, the seventh, is the most extravagant of all: “I will be their God.” God not distant, not aloof, rather “I give Myself to you and your descendants to be yours” and then God says, “Now, give yourselves to Me” – this is covenant. This is what I desire with infinite desire, what is for your good, your eternal good.
Here, now, the Lord says the same to us and His words are sacrament; in this Holy Eucharist He gives Himself totally to us, to you and to me. And, in turn, He says to you, to me “Now give yourselves totally to Me.” “This is covenant, what I desire and what I grace you to desire.