Fr Paul Gooley reads today from the John (8: 51-59) in which Jesus says ‘whoever obeys my word will never see death’

Fr Paul says the Gospel passage brings to its climax the account of the confrontation of Jesus with ‘the Jews’ in the Temple at the Festival of Tabernacles.

The gospel tells us of the of the glory, which the Father confers on Jesus. This glory is awesome and inspiring. It is something that rightly belongs to the Divine.

When Moses, despairing at the failure of the Israelites immediately after the conclusion of the Covenant on Sinai, asks to see God’s glory (Exodus 33.8); he is permitted to see God’s glory only from behind, for no one can see God and live. Again Isaiah, in his vision in the Temple, is bowled over by the sight of God’s glory (Isaiah 6), and again Ezekiel is bowled over by seeing something that ‘looked like the glory of the Lord’ (Ezekiel 1.28). So, glory properly belongs to God alone, and is an inspiring and awesome experience.

In the beginning of John’s Gospel, the phrase ‘we saw his glory’ expresses the summit of revelation at the Incarnation. By his first sign at Cana Jesus made his glory known (2.11), but the fullness of his glory is to be shown only by the Hour of his Passion and Resurrection, the two being seen as one single moment: ‘Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before the world was (17.5). So, the revelation of God’s glory in Jesus is another way of expressing the divinity of Christ.

With this in mind, Jesus at the end of this gospel adopts as his own the divine name, ‘I AM’, and he claims the glory conferred by the Father.

For our reflection, Fr Paul says we might reflect on those two simple words from Jesus and their profound meaning – I Am.