Gospel Reflection - Sunday 23rd August 2020

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord asks His disciples: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”In the Gospel’s of Mark and Luke, this is translated: “Who do you say I am?”When Our Lord says, “I Am”, He is teaching that He is divine, that He is God Himself.A strict Jew, even today, will not use the words, “I Am” because those words refer to God alone.

In Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses that His name is: “I Am who I Am.” Our Lord repeatedly calls Himself “I Am”.For example: John 8:58:Our Lord says to the Pharisees: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.”St Peter responds to Our Lord’s question: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”St Peter calls Our Lord, not ‘a’ Christ, but ‘the’ Christ. Therefore, St Peter knows that He is the Messiah.Then St Peter adds: ‘the’ Son on the living God which suggests that St Peter is claiming that Our Lord is God Himself.However, some scripture scholars argue that St Peter’ claim is ambiguous or inconclusive.

Nevertheless, we know that Jesus is God because Our Lord repeatedly claims that He is divine.For example:John 10.30: “The Father and I are One.”Also, ever Jew should have known that the Messiah was God.For example:Isaiah 9.6: “For a child has been born …authority rests on His shoulders; and he is named: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”St Paul writes, Philippians 2.9-11:“Therefore, God has exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that the name of Jesus every knew should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Let us continue to answer Our Lord’s question: “Who do you say I Am?”In St Paul’s letter to the Philippians 2: 6-83, we read: “Although Christ Jesus is God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, and being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”This passage reminds us that the very essence of God is love (1John 4:16) and therefore God is an “Offering Incarnate”.His nature or essence is to offer or sacrifice or die.Also, it doesn’t matter how sinful we are, even if we are the greatest sinner of all time, Our Lord would be crucified for us, without hesitation at every moment.

It is unimaginable act of self-offering that God, the Creator of all things, would reduce Himself to become a human. Who among us would be willing to become a fish or an ant, in order to teach fish, or ants, how to live?Our Lord’s love for us has reduced Himself to an even lower state than human.He has taken on the form of food – mere bread and wine. He becomes food so that we may be changed into Him.Although we are sinners, there is no limit to the offering He makes for us in order that we become His son or daughter, with full rights of inheritance, inheriting everything God had and is.

We don’t become God, but God lives in us.God wants to live in us so that we may no longer be limited by our flesh or the world but be of the Holy Spirit. Our Blessed Mother is described in the Bible as “full of Grace” (Luke 1,28).In other words, she is full of the Holy Spirit or full of God.She described her state of existence to a Luisa Piccarreta who died in Italy in 1947, “God let me take possession of all the divine qualities, for however much it was possible to a creature.Everything was mine:Heaven and earth and God Himself, whose own Will I possessed.

I felt myself possessor of the divine sanctity of the love, of the beauty, power, wisdom, and divine goodness.I felt myself queen of all, nor did I feel like a stranger to my Heavenly Father.I felt His paternity and the supreme happiness of being His faithful daughter.”Our Lord became one of us so that all of us may become ‘another Christ’ possessing all the Virtues of Our Lord, including peace, joy, love, and self-control as much as a human can possess Our Lord’s virtues.

Finally, Our Lord wants us to have perfect faith and trust in Him at all times, regardless of how great our crosses are.This includes in this time of the Corona virus because God has the plan of victory!