What is the source of your vision?
Speaking before the Sanhedrin in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter links the crucifixion of Jesus to the history of the people of Israel, recounted in Psalm 118: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. While Jesus was alive, present before them, the Jewish leadership failed to see Jesus for who he was, that is to say, the Messiah, the only name under heaven by which we are to be saved. Yet though they rejected Jesus, Peter assures them, they are not condemned; they have the opportunity to believe. Peter’s presence before them constitutes an invitation, an invitation to recognize what God is doing right now, before their very eyes, in their midst. They have but to open to the vision that is God’s, to see Jesus for who he was, and is, in their lives.
If Acts is based on a past vision, John’s Gospel focuses on a present one. In the story of the Good Shepherd, Jesus endeavors to open the eyes of the Jewish leadership, who fail to see that his power as shepherd, the power to lay down his life for his disciples at the crucifixion, comes to him at the command of the Father. Jesus acts from the love of the Father; Jesus is that love made manifest. Out of love for us, God provides the victim, and that victim, the very love of God himself, once sacrificed, because it has no limits, can prove how limitless it is. Jesus sees with God’s vision, and wants to share that vision with all who encounter him.
The First Letter of John, while grounded in Jesus’ present vision, points also to the future: what we shall be has not yet been revealed. But here is the key: We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Jesus changes how we see and understand ourselves. We are children of God, we know. And God’s love in us is generative, active, dynamic, creative, so we are constantly being recreated into the Body of Christ, into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to try to match that likeness until, in eternal life, we know – and see – him fully. Christ is the source, and the perfect object, of our vision – we have but to open our eyes and endeavor to see him as he is.
This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source: www.wordle.net