First reading Genesis 17:3-9

Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’
 

Responsorial Psalm 104(105):4-9 

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
 
Consider the Lord and his strength;
  constantly seek his face.
Remember the wonders he has done,
  his miracles, the judgements he spoke.
 
The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
 
O children of Abraham, his servant,
  O sons of the Jacob he chose.
He, the Lord, is our God:
  his judgements prevail in all the earth.
 
The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
 
He remembers his covenant for ever,
  his promise for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
  the oath he swore to Isaac.
 
The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
 

Gospel John 8:51-59

Your father Abraham saw my Day and was glad

Jesus said to the Jews:
 
‘I tell you most solemnly,
whoever keeps my word
will never see death.’
 
The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:
 
‘If I were to seek my own glory
that would be no glory at all;
my glory is conferred by the Father,
by the one of whom you say, “He is our God”
although you do not know him.
But I know him,
and if I were to say: I do not know him,
I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves.
But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word.
Your father Abraham rejoiced
to think that he would see my Day;
he saw it and was glad.’
 
The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:
 
‘I tell you most solemnly,
before Abraham ever was,
I Am.’
 
At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.
 
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“I AM”

In today’s gospel, the Jews asked Jesus, “Are you greater than our father Abraham?”. Abraham was regarded as the greatest man ever lived in the Jewish tradition. Thus, when Jesus declared, “In all truth I tell you, before Abraham ever was, I am”, they were scandalised by His  words to the point that they wanted to stone Him to death. Yet, Jesus told them the truth of His identity. He was God, the “I AM” who existed before Abraham and, in fact, before the creation of the whole world. We are reminded of the prologue where John the evangelist wrote, “In  the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the source of  life and is the very presence of God Himself. Jesus was telling the people, “I am God”, instead they closed their hearts to this incredible  Good News. Today, as we draw close to Holy Week, let us allow Jesus to be God, the “I AM”, the God who is with us.
 
Question for reflection:
How can my life, words and actions reveal the presence of Jesus to others? 
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.