Jesus concludes today’s Gospel reading with the solemn statement, “The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:30). He means that he is everything the Father is, except that he is the Son, not the Father. He, the Son, has become the human being Jesus of Nazareth, without ceasing to be everything that he is as God.
Jesus does not announce this incomprehensible mystery to overwhelm our minds and drive us into bafflement. The reason he makes it is to undergird an assurance he wishes to give.
His followers are in the Father’s hand; indeed, “no one can take them out of the Father’s hand,” because the Father is God (Jn 10:29). And because Jesus and the Father are one, the Father has given them to Jesus, and — here’s the assurance — “no one can take them out of my hand.”
It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of this statement.
Did I enter this world by chance? Is the purpose of my life whatever I choose to give it? Am I careening from one event to another, heading toward extinction?
Or did I come into existence as one loved by God? Is the meaning of my life a mystery that unfolds in the presence of God? Is my life, here and now, and forever, in Jesus’ hands?
The answers I give to these questions shape the way I handle the challenges to love the people in my life, the way I confront my limitations, the way I deal with disappointments, the way I experience suffering.
They affect how I use opportunities to help other people, how I get through times when the most important things are going wrong, what I do when I realize I have hurt someone, how I get up from the floor when I have been thinking that perhaps it would have been better if I hadn’t come into this world, whether my heart sometimes fills with joy.
Actually, to say that the answers to these questions “affect” me is an understatement. To know that Jesus has a grip on my life makes all the difference in the world.
But what does Jesus’ assurance — “no one can take them out of the Father’s hand” — say to you? What has it meant for you up to this point in your life? What difference does it make for you today?