Gospel text (Jn 8,31-42):
Jesus went on to say to the Jews who believed in him: «You will be my true disciples if you keep my word. Then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free». They answered him, «We are the descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves of anyone. What do you mean by saying: ‘You will be free?’». Jesus answered them, «Truly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave. But the slave doesn't stay in the house forever; the son stays forever. So, if the Son makes you free, you will be really free. I know that you are the descendants of Abraham; yet you want to kill me because my word finds no place in you. For my part I speak of what I have seen in the Father's presence, but you do what you have learned from your father».
They answered him, «Our father is Abraham». Then Jesus said, «If you were Abraham's children, you would do as Abraham did. But now you want to kill me, the one who tells you the truth —the truth that I have learned from God. That is not what Abraham did; what you are doing are the works of your father». The Jews said to him, «We are not illegitimate children; we have one Father, God». Jesus replied, «If God were your Father you would love me, for I came forth from God, and I am here. And I didn't come by my own decision, but it was he himself who sent me».
«If God were your Father you would love me»
Fr. Givanildo dos SANTOS Ferreira
Today, the Lord directs harsh words to the Jews. Not to some Jews, but precisely to those who embraced the faith: Jesus said «to the Jews who had believed him» (Jn 8:31). This dialogue of Jesus reflects, without any doubt, the beginning of those difficulties caused by the Jewish Christians in the first hours of the Church.
As they were descendants of Abraham according to their kinship, such Jesus’ disciples considered themselves superior not only to Gentiles who lived away from the faith, but also better than any non-Jewish disciples of the same faith. They said: «We are Abraham’s descendants» (Jn 8:33); «Abraham is our father» (v.39); «The only Father we have is God himself.”» (v.41)
Despite being disciples of Jesus, we have the impression that Jesus meant nothing for them, nothing that could improve whom they already owned. But it is there where they all made a big mistake. True sons are not those by physical descent but the heirs of the promise, that is, those who believe (cf. Rom 9:6-8). Without faith in Jesus it is not possible for anyone to reach Abraham’s promise. That being so, among the disciples, "there is neither Jews nor Greeks; neither slave nor free; nor is there man and woman", for they are all brothers because of Baptism (cf. Gal 3:27-28). Let us not be seduced by spiritual pride. Jewish considered themselves superior to other Christians. It is not necessary to speak, here, of separated brethren. But let us rather think of us. How often some Catholics consider themselves better than other Catholics just because they follow this or that movement, or because they observe this or that discipline, they abide by this or to that liturgical trend. Some, because they are rich; others, because they studied more. Some, because they hold important positions; others, because they come from noble families. «« I would like that each one should feel the joy of being Christian.... «God guides his Church, He sustains it always, especially at times of difficulty» (Benedict XVI).