In today’s Gospel we hear some very important words of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life”. He not only shows the way, preaches the truth and invites us to live. He himself IS all of them. Many times in other places, He says similarly: “I am the Good Shepherd”, “I am the gate”, “I am the true vine” … But for a while now I have been fascinated by some other moments when Jesus doesn’t add anything in the end. He just says: “I am”. That tells us a few important things:
I AM is the name of God. God reveals His name to Moses in these words: “‘This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” (Ex 3, 14) Jesus refers to these words before his death. I love the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he conducts a dialogue with the cohort who came to capture him. “He went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazareth.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground. ” (Jn 18: 4-6) Why did they fall to the ground? Because they heard the name of God, which was not allowed to be pronounced! But it is not enough to hear the holy name, you need to hear with your heart. This fall meant nothing, because they still didn’t understand that He who stood against them is the living God.
The second thing of which we are reminded by the words “I AM”, is the ordinary presence of Jesus. Always and everywhere. In Matthew’s Gospel we read: “During the fourth watch of the night, He came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” “(Mt 14: 25-27). When Jesus is near, we can walk on water, drive out demons and raise the dead. If we just believe that He always IS. Even if we do not feel it, even if the world said otherwise, even if we think that we are not worthy.
Two words, and yet they contain the whole essence of God who is beyond everything and who is always near. Two words very important to me.