Recall how Yahweh revealed himself to his people as “I AM”. And when they sinned against God (our first reading of today’s Liturgy of the Word), he revealed his saving mercy and grace in one “mounted on a pole”. And in our Gospel, Jesus reveals himself again, not once, but twice, as “I AM”. Yet, those who hear his words, fail to recognize Jesus as God. It appears so clearly to us, yet those who were with him, just failed–or refused–to see and believe, and so they remained in their sins.
Throughout this waning Lenten Season, I have heard hundreds of confessions, and I’ve celebrated nearly as many sacrifices of Mass. We have heard time and time again, over and over, how God invites his people into his love, how he forgives the sins of those with repentant hearts, how he freely offers the gift of mercy in order for each of us to return to his love. From this repetition, from this ongoing instruction, are we really convinced of this? Do we truly believe that Jesus’ offering in sacrifice really saves and sets us free? If we do not, we remain in our sins; if we do believe, then our only authentic, meaningful response can be to “follow him”.