Gospel Reflection – John 8:21-30

Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, stressing the importance of believing in Him.  They, on the other hand, vastly misunderstand who Jesus is.  Think about this: when Jesus says, “Where I am going, you cannot come”, they think He means that He is going to kill Himself.  Suicide?  Really?  Does this sound like a bunch that understands who Jesus is?  But the Lord’s response is clear: “you are of this world, I am not of this world” and “you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he”.  When Jesus speaks of “the world”, that means “the world of sin”.  And like the Pharisees, we too can become so stuck in our sin, that it blinds us from seeing who God really is.

I’ve noticed a trend on Facebook of late, where many pictures of famous scenes with Jesus show up, with added captions that alter these biblical stories.  They put words in Jesus’ mouth to make stabs at Catholic teachings.  They portray Jesus teaching that He “never intended” for us to share our faith with others, or that we ought to be more lenient towards sexual immorality, or any other such hot topics in the Church today, all under the guise of this being more “loving”.  But do these people know who Jesus really is, or are they merely trying to make Jesus into the kind of guy they would like Him to be?

There’s a reason that the Church spends so much time uncovering and dealing with our understanding of who God is.  If we do not understand who God is, how can we have a relationship with Him?  How can we love Him?  How can we do His will?  If we are mistaken in who God is, that impression will not lead us to God but toward the idea we have of God.  Jesus said “I am not of this world”!  Are we then to try and make God in our own image?  Do we take the sin of this world and try to make it acceptable by saying that “this is what Jesus really would have wanted”, or “the Jesus I know would never condemn someone for such and such”? Do we seek a Jesus that we are more comfortable with, or do we seek after the true Jesus?  God gave us the Church to help us know God better.  If we do not listen to what the Church teaches, but pick and choose what we are more comfortable with, we will not have a true picture of God, but of something of our own creation: A Jesus who is of this world.  We will merely be putting our own captions on Jesus, and making Him say what we want Him to say, instead of swallowing our pride and discovering the beauty of who He really is.

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About Fr. Steve

I am happily a priest of Diocese of London, Ontario, as of April 25, 2015! Hooray!!! Some people are afraid to ask clergy questions sometimes, because they are worried about "what he'll think of me". I am happy to engage in any discussions you might want to have with me about the faith, and trust me, I have heard and probably even lived many of the crazy stories people might share and am not seeking to look down on you, but to help lift you up, wherever you are, to whatever degree you are willing to go. It's about you, and your relationship with God. That is what is most important to me. Since the Lord loves you without qualification, I try to impart the same courtesy.

Posted on March 27, 2012, in Catholic, faith, Orthodoxy, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Candid Catholic and commented:
    I just wanted to share this very thought-provoking blog post I just came across. This will take on a similar tone to my last post, but too often these days people claim to be Christian and yet reject basic Christian morality.
    I once heard it said that John 8:7 is the most misquoted Bible passage of all time (“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone…”). People seem to think that this passage can be used as a justification for any actions. What people ignore though is that Jesus then went on to tell the woman “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (John 8:11). Jesus does forgive the woman, but He does not excuse her actions or try to justify them or say that it was wrong but not under certain circumstances. No, Jesus upholds the Truth. The woman sinned, He forgave her and he told her to repent. That’s it. There’s no relativism or being wishy-washy, just Truth. Similarly, it’s not up to us to judge others, but we do need to stand for the Truth and stop trying to justify the actions of ourselves or others when we know in our hearts they go against God’s commandments and are morally wrong.
    As this post I’m sharing points out, as Christians we have a duty to learn who Jesus is and what He has commanded us, and to try our best to live the lives He taught us to live. Whenever we try to project our own ideas and morality onto Him we risk falling into idolatry because instead of worshipping Jesus Christ we start woshipping a product of our own creation.

  2. Rev. Fr. Ferdinand

    I think the point Jesus is passing across is the injustice we often inflict on others. We are too concerned about other people’s sin, without focusing on the log in our eyes. We are like the Pharisee who said I am not like this tax collector.When other people sin we want them killed or stoned to death, meanwhile we want to live.

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