Date: April 2
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/WeekdaysOfLent/SatFourthWeek.html
Contributor: Mike Sirany
In John 7: 37-38, Jesus says “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” For me, the power in this declaration is that Jesus is the ultimate source for me of strength and faith, and that belief in him is what has the power to transform my heart.
This gospel reading in John ends with the crowds, and then the Jewish leaders and authorities, debating and arguing about the identity of Jesus. I have also found myself over many decades wondering about the larger question of what it means to say Jesus IS God in the flesh. Like many early followers of Jesus, I cannot yet say I have arrived at a conclusive answer to the question Jesus asks in another passage, “Who do you say that I am?: (Mt 16:15). At a minimum I believe that Jesus was a great prophet who revealed to us something unique about the unlimited and unconditional love God has for us (and me, which is harder to accept!) And clearly Jesus had a unique relationship with God. But, as the early Christian community spent centuries debating and working out precise ways of delineating and stating who Jesus was, (with many divergent views), I am not able to affirm with 100% certitude the central tenet of what has been the paradigm of Christian belief as expressed in our Creed.
Within my own uncertainty about who Jesus truly is, I can also say that one of the most important and meaningful activities I participate in every week (usually Sunday and Wednesday), is receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. I cannot fully articulate WHY that is so important to me, but I do experience a sense of deep connection in the Eucharist to God’s love. This remains for me part of the mystery that I accept with gratitude, as it does at times transform my hardened heart.
I invite you to join the debate with the people in Jn 7: 37-52 and answer for yourselves “Who do YOU say that I am?”