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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Jesus and all of us have to answer the question: Who are you?

Jesus and all of us have to answer the question: Who are you?

Bishop Shelton Fabre recently visited the people of St. Joseph Church in Chauvin, LA for his formal five-year visit. He listened to the reports of staff, the Parish Council and Finance Committee and made some suggestions regarding the parish goals for the next five years.

The Bishop also preached at all the masses at the parish. With his permission, the following is a rough summary of his homily.

“Who are you? is a question that is often asked of all of us. However, there are three ways in which we can understand that question. First, the question can be an inquiry into what is your family background – who’s your father, who’s your mother, where are you from? What do you do for a living?

Second, it can have a deeper meaning. It can mean, “What makes you tick.” What motivates you to do what you do? What stimulates you to carry on in life? What is your inner force?

Third, it can have a confrontational meaning – who do you think you are? Do you think you are better than anyone else?

Various people asked Jesus the question, “Who are you?” in several ways. The family background answer was “the son of Mary,” “the carpenter’s son,” “the man from Nazareth.”

Some Jewish religious leaders confronted Jesus and asked him why he was doing what he was doing. Even his own hometown people thought he was “too much for them” and wanted to throw him off the side of the hill, but he slipped through the crowd.

The most important question that Jesus was asked is, “What motivates you? What makes you tick?”

His basic motivation was the love he shared with his Heavenly Father. This love he wanted to share with everyone.

“I want to set the world on fire” Jesus said. “I want the love I have with my Father to be part of everyone’s life.”

Throughout the gospel of St. John, Jesus used the “I AM” sayings to reveal his true identity. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (Jn 6:35)

Again Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” (Jn 10:9)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:11)

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:14-15)

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (Jn 11:25-26)

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(Jn 14:6)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.” (Jn 15:1)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)

Jesus revealed himself to us in many images. The crucial point is that he is here for us; he gave his life for us so we could have eternal life. Our belief in Jesus should never be a “head trip.” It must be a “heart trip.”

Lord Jesus, help us to realize that you are our way, our truth and our life. Apart from you, we can do nothing.