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Today's Gospel + short theological explanation

Thursday 5th of Lent

Gospel text (Jn 8,51-59): Jesus said to the Jews, «Truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never experience death». The Jews replied, «Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets as well, but you say: ‘Whoever keeps my word will never experience death’. Who do you claim to be? Do you claim to be greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets also died» (…). Jesus said «Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am» (…).

Jesus, "I am" previous to Abraham

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI) (Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, it appears again the "I am" of Jesus. It still remains in the air the question "Who are you?"; "where do you come from?” By tracing their origin back beyond Abraham to God as their Father, Jesus’ interlocutors give the Lord the opportunity to restate His own origin with unmistakably clarity.

As Jesus tells us, Abraham not only points back —beyond himself— to God as Father, but above all he points ahead to Jesus, the Son: "Your father Abraham, rejoiced that he was to see My day: he saw it and was glad ". To the objection of the Jews that Jesus could hardly have seen Abraham, He answers: "before Abraham came into existence, I am". Once again, the simple "I am" stands before us in all its mystery, though now defined in contrast to Abraham’s “coming into existence”.

—To the world of coming into being and passing away, the world of birth and death, the "I am" of Jesus, opposes a totally unique mode of being, which transcends human categories.