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I am I and you are you
Someone once told a priest that a certain person was greater than another. The priest replied: “If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I, and you are you. But if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I, and you are not you.”
In our own lives, we rely on our friends and family members to build our own identity. But ultimately our identity formation is everything but comparison. Through our way of living and being, we are to become our real selves, to be the persons that God wants us to be. We become the persons that God wants us to be by following the one who is able to say “I AM.” Through this great “I AM,” a new possibility is offered to us.
In the Bible, God spoke in the first person for the first time when he created the human couple (Genesis 1:27-29). It is only when the other is there—and indeed both, male and female—that God allows himself to use the first person. When he talks, he means that others can talk. The true ‘I’ does not arise without the possibility of another person saying it in turn. As for the Devil, in the Old Testament, especially in the books of Genesis and Job, he never represents himself as a subject. On the contrary, he is the subject’s opponent. Being by nature a divisor, the Devil turns up when a being accesses the first person. Unlike God, Satan says ‘I’ only at the precise moment when he abolishes in the other the possibility of saying it in turn.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about himself by using the expression ego eimi, a formula that was used to affirm the uniqueness of YHWH over against the other gods. By doing so, Jesus reveals his own identity as the unique divine presence in human history. Everything that Jesus says and does is ultimately the word and action of the Father. If we believe that Jesus is the unique revelation of the Father, we can abolish the barrier between “below” and “above” in order to become united to the one who was, who is and who is to come.
In Jesus, the one who is eternal enters into our time and our human history. In Jesus, the creator of the world becomes the savior of humanity. In Jesus, the unchangeable God suffers with us and for us. In Jesus, the gardener of the tree of knowledge is hanged on the tree of the cross. In a challenging situation, we might ask ourselves: where is God, where is the one who is? He is suffering with us and for us. He is in the midst of our misery, sorrow and despair. He is suffering with us in order to bring us to the source of healing and salvation.
Prayer: God of compassion, help us to transform our wound into a space of healing.
Resolution: Think about how I wish to be treated and then treat others the same.