SCRIPTURE (John 8:51-59)
Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death."
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?"
Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad."
So the Jews said to him,
"You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
"If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me”
As Catholics we believe that Jesus is fully divine and fully human. This belief of two full and complete natures within one person is called the hypostatic union. Jesus’ divinity establishes Him as a part of the Holy Trinity, while His humanity allows Him to feel our suffering. As we are learning in my Church History class, both of Jesus’ natures are important for the redemption of humanity. When Adam and Eve broke the covenant between God and humans, original sin was put into every human. The key part of this is that humanity broke the covenant between God and humans, not God. But, as humans there is nothing that we can do to fully repay God, no matter how hard we try. Thus, if Jesus were only human, salvation would not be possible, because through his crucifixion, he would not have repaid God. If Jesus were only divine, salvation would again not be possible, because what does God need to repay to himself? Nothing. God never broke a relationship with himself, so he cannot fix it. Thus, Jesus must be fully divine and fully human because the human part of Jesus is able to repay God, while the divine part of Jesus picks up the fallen pieces where the human nature has failed. This is why Jesus’ resurrection creates our salvation.
We must allow God to help us because we can only get so far as humans. Suppose that you and Michael Phelps are swimming across the Atlantic Ocean starting in the US and trying to reach Europe. You will never make it; no matter how hard you try you will never get all the way across. Michael Phelps will probably make it much further than you, but even he will never reach Europe. This is where God will help you. If you have struggled to keep your Lenten promises of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, or have failed at giving up a materialistic item, God will help you. If you say to God, as Jesus did, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46) God will help you reach Heaven, no matter how far away you are, no matter how many sins you have committed. As long as you are sorry, God will welcome you with open arms.
Jesus allowed God to glorify him. He placed his trust in God, and on the third day, Jesus was resurrected. Jesus did not become selfish, falling to the temptation of sin and trying to glorify himself. Just so, we cannot glorify ourselves here on earth or in heaven. We must allow God to work within us, and only then will we find glory with God.
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
- How have your actions this Lent helped to bring Glory to God?
- Where has God helped to pick up your fallen pieces and put you back on the right track?
- How have you been humble and allowed God to glorify you this Lent?
We often forget all of the glory that God will give us in Heaven and we try to create glory for ourselves. When you notice that you are trying to do God’s job of glorifying yourself, make an effort to glorify someone else through a compliment or kind action to brighten their day and bring glory to them.
Margo Cushman is a junior at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wi. She is involved in theater, rock climbing, and campus ministry and loves spending time outside!