KNOWING OURSELVES AS HIS CHILDREN
“The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.” – Is. 49:1
Today’s readings, gospel, and psalm seem to lay out the varied landscape of our faith story. In faith, we are made to feel safety, peace, joy, and trust in God, who has known us from birth. On the other hand, the Gospel describes Jesus as deeply troubled, knowing that one of his disciples will betray him—that his journey would take him where no one else could follow. Jesus had to practice what is arguably the hardest part of faith—keeping it when we are caught in the depths of life’s challenges and burdens. In striving to be Christlike, it’s easier to default my thinking to the weight of everything Jesus did for us and everything I might aspire to be. In doing so, sometimes I lose sight of the fact that He felt and experienced human emotions, struggles, and pain, just as I do.
“I will lay down my life for you.”
More often, I find myself in St. Peter’s shoes. In St. John’s Gospel, St. Peter is depicted as leaning against Jesus’ chest. From St. Peter’s perspective, it seems like a comfortable scene, then a conversation in which St. Peter makes an eager promise. How easy it is to make eager promises while in comfort, when in my humanity I know, and Jesus knows that I may fall short when the burden feels heavy to bear.
“Will you lay down your life for me?”
When I consider Jesus’ answer to what St. Peter eagerly professed, I realize that Jesus asked it from a place of knowing, almost like a friend who knows you very well, loves you, and challenges you. He knows how challenging it is to have faith when faced with trial. Jesus challenges us to know ourselves in these moments, and to keep our eyes trained on him.
In His grace, Jesus knows and loves us, despite our ability (or lack thereof) to act upon our best intentions. Through allowing ourselves to be known, loved, and challenged by God, perhaps we can become closer to knowing ourselves as His children.
Lord, there are times that I fail to meet my own promises and aspirations. Please help me to contemplate myself with knowing and with forgiveness of my faults, that I may keep faith in You even through times of discomfort.