How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as a loved child of God? Do you see yourself as a self-made man or woman? The question “who are you”, asked by those whom we know will not understand the answer Jesus gives them – is nonetheless a question which is important to ask. It’s an important discernment question [not only for our personal vocational discernment, but also in discerning who speaks to us, that is, figuring out whether the advice or guidance we are given is from the Holy Spirit or from a purely human way of thinking] for us in our faith. Jesus refers to Himself as I AM in today’s Gospel. He speaks from the heart, and is received in the hearts of many, but He returns to the I AM (Exodus 3:14) when God reveals Himself as “I AM” to the people of Israel. The religious leaders who are supposed to be the ones who truly understand God don’t get Jesus as the fulfilment of prophecy, they don’t get His radical love and embrace and in His signs, so He gives them the answer that will ultimately lead to His demise.
When we ask “who are we”, we must seek to discover the answer with the utmost humility. If we see ourselves as self-made (and taking action to make ourselves the best people we can be IS OF GOD) and don’t acknowledge God as an essential part of that; we will never really get to the heart of the answer for ourselves.
What I tell people who are discerning their vocation is that through vocational discernment we ask this question, with a two-part but integrally connected question: first to discover who Jesus Christ is, but then who we are: discernment and formation lead us to discovery of the answer to both questions, if we are open to it. And we must be. In seeking to discover who Jesus is, and who we are: we will hopefully come to see ourselves as loved children of God, but self-made in the way and manner in which the Lord who is at the centre of our lives desires us to be.