Blog # 275 Who am I ?
"Live on in me as I do in you... I am the vine, you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him will produce abundantly." John 15:4,
Through faith and Baptism we are one with Jesus in such an intimate and profound way that our union with Him is given by Jesus and St. Paul as parallel to the union of branches on a vine and as members of a living body, united in such a way that the one life flows and is active in each living branch and in each living member of the body.
It is fitting therefore for Jesus to ask: "Who do people say I am?", and then " Who do you say I am ? The identity of Jesus is to be, in our own personal and limited way, the identity of each branch and each member of the body. To ask the question "Who is Jesus?" , as a believer and disciple of Jesus, is to ask the question "Who am I?". And though on one occasion Peter had the right answer to that question in words , "You are the Messiah", he did not yet realize the meaning and consequence of being identified with those words. He realized it better in the tears he shed in sorrow for his denial of Jesus at the time Jesus was crucified. And he realized it full well when he himself was crucified in the name of Jesus that had become his own.
God is love. To love means to give. The more we love, the more we give. " You cannot love anyone more than to lay down your life for another." This is because in consciously 'laying down your life', in dying, you have no more to give, you give it all. Jesus was sent and came to tell us this and to live it out in His own life and death. God's plan was that through self-giving, love would be born, and through love eternal glory. Peter seems to have thought we could have glory without love and love without sacrifice. Jesus very clearly told him this cannot be so, and Peter was thinking here like men do, and not as God does. (Mat 16:23). "
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow in my steps." To have it otherwise would be like trying to walk without putting one foot after the other, or a bird trying to fly without opening its wings. There is a design here. God's design. It is the truth about walking and flying, and love. We readily accept and live by the truth about walking and flying. Let's pray that we might understand and live by the truth about love, that we might see it in Jesus, and at His invitation and command make it the truth about ourselves as His disciples, sharing His life and His love as branches on a vine, sent as the First Adam was sent by our Creator to cultivate and care for the same earth as we, warmed by the same sun that warmed the shoulders of Jesus, and motivated by the same zeal for ministry that motivated the historical Jesus and now in our moment of history the Resurrected Jesus in us , to fulfill the vision of Isaiah of justice, peace and love for all people. What a world our world would be!