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 http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
When Jesus speaks, again and again, the Pharisees misinterpret him. They cannot accept that their longing for God has already been met, that they are speaking to the Word who fulfills all things. Christ tells them they will be looking for him but will not find him. Feeling abandoned, they misinterpret and think that Christ chooses to stay hidden from their sight rather than that they stay blinded to what is in front of them.
When Christ gives witness declaring that the Father has not left him alone, many come to believe. There is a fundamental truth that what draws people to believe in God is not an intellectual argument; rather it is the narrative of God-with-us, the salvation history of our Lord dwelling among His chosen people then and now: it is the Good News.
How often we feel God is distant, that we are left alone tumbling in the cold free-fall of desolation. Yet we are drawn back to Christ who, even as he questioned on his cross why the Father had forsaken him, models for us the certitude that the Father does not leave us alone. When God seems most distant, when we shiver in the shadow of the cross surrounded by the darkness of death, it is then that the Father is very close indeed, transforming darkness to light and death to new life in the resurrection, if only we can see it.
In what ways has God been present and active in my live?
What grace do I need to witness to others how God has not left me alone?
—Cyril Pinchak, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching English at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, Detroit MI. He is also a published poet.