The Pharisees are having a rough time in the daily gospels this week. Jesus makes no bones about who he is: “I AM”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him (John 8:58)
The Pharisees got the message. They made a choice. A friend of mine describes the basic encounter of faith this way:
- Read and prayer upon Scripture, especially the Gospels
- Consider the whole of the Word of God – Hebrew Scripture and New Testament
- Choose from one of these three basic options: Jesus is:
- The choices do not include guru, spiritual teacher, best friend, teacher premier – those are just some of the activities of one the three basic choices. Go back to step three and choose.
The Pharisee seem to have taken option A or B.
C.S. Lewis offered that Jesus compels us to make a choice the way no other figure does. Either you are with Jesus or you are against him. There is no other way to take in this language. Bishop Barron wrote this morning: “There has been a disturbing tendency in recent years to turn Jesus into an inspiring spiritual teacher. If that’s all he is, the heck with him.”
It reminded me of the words of the Southern Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor about the Eucharist being merely symbol.
Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.
That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable. (The Habit of Being)