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Jesus, Son of the Living God
Gospel Reflection for March 28, 2023—John 8:21-30
In today’s Gospel reflection, Jesus hints at his death—and in so doing He speaks of His divinity, since the two cannot be separated.
“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’” (22-24).
It’s undeniable—Jesus proclaimed Himself Messiah, Son of the living God. In today’s world of skepticism, many modern biblical commentators and heretical movements—such as the Jesus Seminar—attempt to make false claims that Jesus never spoke of divine Sonship. A brief look at the Gospels, especially today’s reading, proves otherwise.
“‘When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to Him’” (28-29).
In these passages we can clearly see Jesus is proclaiming the Truth: “I Am who I Am” (Ex. 3:14). If we don’t believe this, we will die in our sins.
But what, exactly, does “die in our sins” mean? On the surface the answer is obvious and needs no explanation, especially when it comes to mortal sin. But let’s dig a bit deeper.
Sin begets sin. We become accustomed—and therefore numb—to certain behaviors, and these behaviors become habits within our lives. When we begin to fall away from Christ in little ways, such as skipping prayers or other devotionals because we’re “too busy” or “too bored” to take time for God, we begin to slip further. Before we know it, we’re skipping other things in our spiritual life, which creates a rift and a distance from God. We’re closing the door, slowly, to His merciful and bountiful graces.
This happened to me. During a particularly dark period in my life I began to drift away from my true self. I didn’t intentionally lose Christ, but I certainly allowed it to happen. I didn’t pray as much, no longer meditated on Sacred Scripture or other spiritually-enriching books. I skipped Mass from time to time—a mortal sin, although I refused to admit I was sinning—until before I knew it, I wasn’t attending Mass at all.
Except on Easter and Christmas. I was one of those Catholics. A “fair-weather” friend.
The next leap into sin was obvious—and an obvious trick of Satan. I began to proclaim myself “spiritual but not religious” and became involved with alternate spiritualities such as yoga and other Eastern practices. I’m ashamed to admit that I proclaimed a totally misguided belief that Jesus had been the wisest man ever to walk the earth, and an extraordinary spiritual teacher, but not the Son of God.
I daily thank Jesus, His blessed Mother, and all of my family members who prayed for me during those dark years. And here I am, back in the light—by the grace of God.
The divine truth is that Jesus is the Son of the living God. In today’s Gospel reading we’re reminded that this truth is unwavering and undeniable—unless we make the conscious choice to harden our hearts, which will then cause us to wither like the useless fig tree and eventually die in our sins—both spiritually and physically (Matt. 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14; Luke 13:6-9). Let us pray, daily, that we never fall astray or succumb to Satan’s wily lies about God’s greatest Truth.
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