Again he said to them, “I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” Then the Jews said, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.”
They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
It is often difficult for us to hear what God is saying to us. We simply do not understand, because we are used to thinking according to our own limited perspective. Sometimes we are not at fault for this, but sometimes our sins and failings are what limit our understanding.
The Jews in today’s Gospel also fail to understand. They consistently do not comprehend Jesus’ words: they think he is talking about suicide, ask who he is out of bewilderment, and completely miss his point about the Father.
But this will not last forever. Jesus says, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” In the light of the Cross, God stands revealed.
We can ask ourselves about the times we have failed to understand God: have I considered this in the light of the Cross?
O God, you revealed your love for us
through your Son’s death on the Cross:
grant us, we pray, the light of your grace,
that we who have been redeemed by his sacrifice
may imitate him in all things.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
—William Manaker, S.J.