Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.” They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We are inheritors of identity politics. We are just as divided as the Jews were in Jesus’ time. The Jews identified as sons of Abraham, yet sectioned off from each other because of ideological differences. The Essenes fled to the desert, the Pharisees prayed within their clan, the Sadducees kept busy in the Temple, and the Zealots plotted to blow the whole thing up. They could not identify with each other. Is this not the current landscape of our world?
Then there’s Jesus, who identified himself as a child of God, the Son of God. It’s no wonder scholars struggle identifying Jesus’ Jewish faction. Perhaps it’s because he only identified with God, as God. He knew that identity politics was nothing more than tribalism, colonization, and dominance. It wasn’t going to save anyone.
—Mark Chang is a Theology Teacher and the Director of the New Teacher Induction Program at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.
I want to unite my life to your life,
my thoughts to your thoughts,
my affections to your affections,
my heart to your heart,
my works to your works,
my whole self to your self,
in order to become through this union
more holy and pleasing in the sight of your Father
and in order to make my life more worthy of your grace
and of the reward of eternity.
—Excerpt of a prayer by Jean-Pierre Médaille, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!