In today’s Gospel those gathered to hear Jesus accuse him of claiming to be greater than Abraham. Jesus replies by echoing the words of God to Moses: “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.” Utter blasphemy to a 1st-century Jew.

Lent is a time to free ourselves of disordered attachments so that we can begin to see Jesus for who he truly is – the God-man, the Messiah. This Lent, ask yourself: “Is my fasting increasing my dependence on the Word of God? Is my prayer strengthening my faith in Jesus, in the fullness of who he is and what he has done? Is my almsgiving merely a task or is it conforming me to Christ?” As we await the joyful promises of Easter, let us pray for the grace to freely respond to Jesus, not with hearts of stone and stones in hand, but with humble hearts and hands outstretched.

—Sam McGrath is a Theology teacher at Verbum Dei High School, Los Angeles, CA.