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Thursday, April 2, 2009

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St. Francis of Paola

Genesis 17:3-9
Psalm 105:4-9
John 8:51-59

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i and i am

"Jesus answered them: 'I solemnly declare it: before Abraham came to be, I AM.' " —John 8:58

Jesus claims to be God. When Jesus called Himself "I AM" to a Jewish audience, they had to either worship Him or stone Him for blasphemy. When He also said He was before Abraham and that Abraham rejoiced to see His day, this made Jesus' claim to be God all the more challenging (Jn 8:56-58).

In today's culture, Jesus states His claim to divinity in equally challenging ways. He declares:

  • Before "doing your own thing," I AM.
  • Before "feeling good," I AM.
  • Before "enjoying yourself," I AM.
  • Before "feeling comfortable," I AM.
  • Before "self-realization," I AM.

Jesus makes sure there are no gods besides Him (see Ex 20:3). We must deny our "I," our ego, to acknowledge Jesus as the I AM (see Lk 9:23). We must deny the ways and lies of the world and our pleasure-seeking lifestyle to acknowledge Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6). We must throw rocks (Jn 8:59) — either at the false gods of the present age (see 2 Cor 4:4) or at Jesus.

Prayer:  Jesus, Lord and God, I rejoice in submitting every detail of my life to You.

Promise:  "I will maintain My covenant with you and your descendants after you." —Gn 17:7

Praise:  St. Francis of Paola heard God's call and became a teenage hermit, and eventually had others join him to form the Minims.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God, or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008

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