Where are you from? How many times have you been asked that question? We usually respond with the names of the city, state, or country where we grew up or have lived for a long time. That place has become part of our identity. The way we talk, the foods we eat, the sports teams we root for—all these and more are often influenced by where we come from.
The people in Jerusalem knew that Jesus was from Nazareth in Galilee. He probably even had a Galilean accent. And that was the problem. “When the Christ comes,” they said, “no one will know where he is from” (John 7:27). Granted, one Old Testament prophecy said the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, the city of David (Micah 5:1). But Galilee? No way!
Jesus didn’t deny his roots: “You . . . know where I am from” (John 7:28). But his roots went much deeper than Nazareth. They went deeper even than his family ties. Jesus was rooted in his identity as the Son of God. He had come from the Father who had sent him. That was the focal point around which everything else in his life—what he thought, said, and did—revolved.
You were born to a specific family in a specific time and place, and this influences who you are today. But your deepest identity comes from God your Father. He created you, and by virtue of your baptism, you have become his son or daughter. Like Jesus, that should be the focal point around which everything else in your life revolves.
Being deeply grounded in our identity as God’s son or daughter will change us. It will affect what we choose to do with our time and energy. It will move us to pray and celebrate the sacraments. It will influence the way we relate to people and the way in which we speak to them. It will make us more aware of the needs of the poor. And it will give our lives purpose and meaning—because like Jesus, we too have been sent to proclaim the good news of God’s merciful love.
What an honor it is to be called a son or daughter of God!
“Father, help me to live out my identity in you.”
O God, who have prepared fitting helps for us in our weakness, grant we pray, that we may receive their healing effects with joy and reflect them in a holy way of life.