The WORD in Other Words by Fr Fred Mislang SVD
Thursday 5th Week of Lent
Genesis 17:3-9 John 8:51-59
The utterance “I AM” by the Lord is often found in John, e.g., 6:20, 8:24,28.58. It is also found in the synoptics, e.g., Mark 14:62, Matthew 14:27. The formula is the same one Yahweh used to identify Himself in a solemn, revelatory way in the Old Testament, e.g., Exodus 3:6,14,20:2.
Use of this formula places Jesus on par with God the Father, a striking affirmation of Jesus‘ divinity, which the Jews and especially their religious leaders resent very much and consider it the mother of all blasphemies.
But I would like us to focus, for a change, and reflect on a special aspect of God‘s attribute, that is His presence as expressed in the words “I AM.” Actually, He is presence par excellence. He is always present, everything in Him is present, no past, no future, just NOW. The following is a simple couplet admonishing us to live likewise in the present:
“I was regretting the past and fearing the future, when suddenly the Lord was speaking:
“My name is ‘I AM.’ He paused… l waited… He continued, ‘When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I was.’”
“When you live in the future with its problems, fears and uncertainties, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not “I will be.”
“But when you live in this present moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is ‘IAM.’”
Are we living in the past with its failures and mistakes? Or are we living in the future with all its doubts and fears? Should we not live right here and now, in this present moment, especially that He is here with us: “I AM” is with you always — everyday and all the days of your lives!