After hearing Johnâ€™s gospel for the last five weeks, many murmur, â€œThis saying is hard; who can accept it?â€Â Not many can accept the sayings of Jesus, unfortunately, but that is not our roleâ€”to seek so much as to know the saying; no, our role is seek to know the Say-erâ€¦the One sent by God as the Way, the Truth and the Life.Â Thatâ€™s our goal, isnâ€™t it?
So often nowadays, people only accept what they can understand about Jesus, what they can relate with about Him: that is to say, many have no difficulty acknowledging that Jesus was a good man, a human person of wisdom and insight.Â And while that is certainly true, the most important thing to know about Jesus is that He is divine.
The Gospel of Johnâ€”from which todayâ€™s exchange comesâ€”began with, â€œIn the beginning was the Wordâ€¦â€.Â It is this word of God that became flesh in Jesus Christ, thus bearing Godâ€™s own life for all of us to know, to hear, to love.
So, a question comes to mind, doesnâ€™t it?Â Is He really?Â Is this Jesus really divine?
Throughout the gospels we are given the evidence, but even more, St. Paulâ€™s letters are emphatic.Â St. Paulâ€”a powerfully phenomenal Jew of the first century who studied under the great Rabbi Gamalielâ€”time and time again, over and over refers to Jesus as â€œLordâ€.Â This is not so peculiar to us today, but to the people of Paulâ€™s era, it was unheard of, simply because one only used the title â€˜Lordâ€™ when referring to God alone.Â How radical and strange it was, yet, in Paulâ€™s wisdom and virtue, in his knowledge and experience of Christ, he was convinced that the One Lord is Jesus Christ.Â Paul knows the sayings of Jesus, but more to the point, he knows the Say-er and he knows him to be God himself.Â Yes, the sayings are hard, but we can accept them once we know well the goodness, or Godliness, of the Say-er.
Well, with that, comes now a compelling and all-important choice for each one of us: with this understanding of Jesus as Lord, Jesus now compels us to make a choice in a way that no other founder of a great religion does.Â Mohammedâ€”to his infinite creditâ€”never claimed to be God.Â Mohammed said, â€œIâ€™m a messengerâ€¦I received a message from God.â€Â Mosesâ€”to his infinite creditâ€”never claimed to be divine.Â Moses received the Law from God and, in turn, gave it to the people.Â The Buddhaâ€”to his infinite creditâ€”never claimed to be divine.Â What he said was, â€œIâ€™ve found a way.â€
Then thereâ€™s Jesus: who doesnâ€™t say, â€œIâ€™ve found a way,â€ â€¦He says, â€œI AM the way.â€Â How strange indeed.Â He doesnâ€™t say, â€œIâ€™ve found a truthâ€¦let me tell you about it,â€ rather He says, â€œI AM the truth.â€ Â He didnâ€™t say, â€œHey, thereâ€™s this new mode of life that Iâ€™ve discovered, let me share it with you,â€ rather He declares, â€œI AM the life.â€Â These claims are the unique treasure of Christianity and treasure needs to be shared, needs to enrich us in order for it to be true treasure.
And so, this treasure, like I said, compels a choice.Â If Jesus is who He said He is, I must give my whole self, my whole life to Him.Â Of course, because He is God, He is the highest Good.Â But if Heâ€™s not who He says He is, then Heâ€™s a bad man.Â Either Heâ€™s God, or Heâ€™s a bad manâ€¦and each one of us must decide.
â€œEither you gather with me, or you scatter.â€Â â€œEither youâ€™re with me or youâ€™re against me.â€Â Even in todayâ€™s gospel, Jesus directly asks this question of us: â€œdo you also want to leave?â€Â Itâ€™s clear over these last five weeks of hearing Johnâ€™s gospel, we are not allowed to be mere bystanders and spectators.Â We either believe and follow him full-well, or we leave him and return to a former way of life.
But we know the â€œSay-erâ€ of these things; we are the recipients of the treasure of Jesusâ€™ resurrection and new life; we are the bearers of Baptism; we are the manifold recipients of Godâ€™s graces; we are a people chosen and blessed by God as adopted children of the Father, in the Son.
Let your choice be unanimous, let your choice resound and echo in the days and weeks to come, let your choice guide all that you are and all that you do: for, Jesus is Lord.Â Amen.