Click the arrow below to hear a member of the Assumption community read today’s Gospel.
What is your first memory? What is the earliest event that you can remember? Do you have any memory of your own birth?… Good for you if you have because I don’t! I know that something happened to me, but I don’t remember anything about it. My presence today proves that this event really occurred. And so, at the very beginning of my life, something happened to me without me being aware of it. To be sure of my birth, I needed the testimony of my parents. They had to sign my birth certificate. That is to say, my very existence was testified to by others. I could not testify to my own birth. I owed my life to my parents and relied on them to certify its beginning.
Dependence on the father
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.” Who is that person? John the Baptist is compared to a burning and shining lamp. Is it he? No, Jesus doesn’t accept John’s testimony but not because he underestimates his cousin. For Jesus, only the Father can testify on his behalf. Only the one who engendered the son can testify on his behalf. And this testimony was not limited to some special occasion.
Witness in every circumstance
The other evangelists only mentioned the witness of the Father at the important moments of Jesus’ life such as baptism and transfiguration. For his part, John regularly talked about the relationship between the Father and the Son. More than fifty times in John, Jesus addressed God as his Father or referred to him as Father. That means Jesus’ life was nourished through intense and regular moments of communion with his Father. It was by being united to the Father that Jesus revitalized himself in order to accomplish his mission at the service of others.
Existence with others
The other day, in his homily, a member of my religious community said that our first memory is always involved with other people. His first memory occurred when his grandmother tried to help him to take a nap. It is also true for my first memory. I knocked over the sewing kit of my parents while I was playing. Sewing thread and needle were all over the floor. I kept crying until the moment when my Dad came over to reassure me that it was OK. And I will never forget his compassionate smile and his kind face that I saw at that moment.
Like Jesus, we are to deepen our relationship with the Father in every circumstance. We are to focus on God’s paternity in order to be more attentive to his other children. Are we willing to let God testify to our existence? Are we conscious of being God’s adopted children at every moment of our lives? If so, we can hear his voice, see his form and experience his love. Instead of being accused by Moses and his law, we are praised by God, our Father. The Mosaic law accuses us, but God’s paternal love reveals to us who we really are: his beloved sons and daughters.
Prayer: God our Father, help us to hear your voice and see your form through your other children.
Resolution: See how my first memory can have an impact on who I am today.