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.