The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
August 26, 2018 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time - John 6:60-69
Jesus was not a self-made man. He did not pick himself up by his own bootstraps. He was not self-sufficient. He was not a lone ranger. He was not his own man. All that he was and all that he did flowed to him and through him from God. And like the great mystic that he was, he was conscious of this connection.
He always went where God’s Spirit led him. He always said what that same Spirit instructed him to say. He loved and cared for others as God did. He was God’s hands and God’s heart. He was God’s message to the world. To you and me.
And that same Spirit now flows through Jesus to us. That’s why Jesus, near the end of his earthly life, said loudly and clearly to his disciples, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Or as I like to think of these powerful words: I am the way to the truth of your life.
We live in a very complex world. We are deeply dependent on the forces of nature to keep us alive. We began life through an act of utter dependence on our parents. When we were born, we did not stand up and order a chocolate milk shake for our first meal. No, we depended on being fed, especially by our mothers. We needed parental care for many years. When we entered formal education, we did not walk into the classroom on our first day and announce to those there that we knew everything there was to know. And while we were able to do more and more on our own as years passed, we knew that we continued to need others to help us fix what we broke, to explain which part goes into fixing our kid’s bike or to simply enjoy the deeper pleasures of life, most of which come in social settings.
This description of human life is often at odds with our “make it on your own” culture that gives the illusion of independence and continues to praise individuality. While we praise the accomplishments of “most valuable players,” those same players have to admit that they needed the help of many others to succeed.
Thus, we come to the way Jesus describes the nature of all things. God alone is God. God alone is the one who has given us life, including the human life of Jesus. His life was the direct result of Mary’s acceptance to work with Gods Spirit in his creation. We also depend on God’s power to take our every breath, to have our heart beat thousands of times a day, to think good thoughts, to figure out how to best spend our time and energy.
And that’s what Jesus is saying to us today. Your life is not your own. It is a gift from God.
© David M. Thomas, PhD