J E S U S
The Jesus of the Gospels is much more ordinary than we might expect. We may be surprised, even shocked by the Christ we find. Surprise can be a sign that we are encountering the Living Christ, who is the visible image of the invisible GOD OF SURPRISES.
A primary guideline for reading/contemplating the Gospel is to see Christ as a human being. A person who is limited, constricted, who had to learn who God is, had to grow in faith all through his life. Who experienced emotions of love and joy, fear and dread, had likes and dislikes, suffered hunger, thirst and weariness, and was tempted! St John writes: “He came to his own, but his own did not accept him.” [John 1:11] The reason for them not accepting him is that he did not match their expectations of a glorious and powerful Messiah. It is only in and through his humanity, and the experience of our own and others that we can begin to know his divinity – a divinity that perfects his humanity. He meets us where we are, in our humanity, not outside it. He reveals himself most intimately as a presence in our emptiness, a companion in our loneliness. His own description of himself as THE SON OF MAN is, according to some commentators, the translation of Aramaic slang for “an ordinary bloke.” The question Jesus placed before his apostles is the same one he places before each of us this evening: “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” Thus the nature of my sharing is personal, my response to this question as I search the Gospels. It is not exhaustive, but hopefully will lead you to answer the question for yourselves. This is who Jesus is for me – please, ask yourselves in prayer, in Scripture reading, in honesty and sincerity, Who is Jesus for me?
JESUS DID NOT SAY:
|To the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:1-42)|
She is a woman to be avoided.
He sat next to her to chat with her and to ask her for something to drink.
|To the adulterous woman (Jn 8:1-11)|
She is a prostitute: the law obliges me to condemn her.
I do not condemn you: go and as from today do not sin any longer.
|To the sinful woman (Lk 7:36-50)|
She is a woman of loose morals: avoid her.
He allowed her to pour perfume on his feet and to dry them with her hair.
|To the woman who touched him (Lk 8:43-48)|
It is only superstition, send her away.
Your faith has healed you.
|To the publican (Lk 9: 1-10)|
He is of the upper class and a thief.
He made himself be invited to his home.
|To the one born blind (Jn 9: 1 ff.)|
He is fine like this; he is paying for his sins.
This has happened so that the glory of God might be manifested.
|To Nicodemus (Jn 3: 1 – 21)|
He is an intellectual who understands nothing.
It is necessary to be born again from water and the Spirit.
|To Peter (Jn 21: 15 – 17)|
He denied and deserted me.
Peter, do you love me more than these?
|To Judas (Mtt 26: 47 – 50)|
He is a hypocrite and a traitor.
He kisses him with the word: “Friend.”
|To the thief (Lk 23: 39 – 43)|
He is a scoundrel who is receiving what he deserves.
This very day you will be with me in paradise.
|To the centurion (Lk 7: 1 – 10)|
He is a vulgar oppressor with whom I want nothing to do.
I have not come across a similar faith in Israel.
|To his executioners (Lk 23: 34)|
Father, avenge me and make them die.
Forgive them….they do not understand what they are doing…
“the God we believe in is the God we experience.”
IMAGE OF GOD
My God is not a God who is hard (Mtt 11:28-30), insensitive (Lk 24:36), incapable of suffering;
My God is weak (Lk 2:7); He is a member of my race (Lk 2:6), and I of His (Jn 15:14).
He experienced human joy and friendship, the delights of the earth and everything in it.
He was hungry (Mk 3:20) and tired and sleepy.
My God felt things….(Mtt 26:37; Mtt 9:36).
My God became irritated and felt anger (Lk 19:45-46);
and He was as gentle as a child (Mk 10:14; Lk 13:34).
My God was afraid when faced with death (Mtt 26:42; Mtt 27:46).
My God was nursed at the breast of His Mother (Phil 2:7), and felt and drank in all the tenderness of a woman.
My God loved everything human, things and people,
bread and wine, saints and sinners (Lk 15:3; Lk 24:30; Lk 7:34).
My God was a Person of His time (Lk 20:20-25).He dressed like everybody else.
He spoke the language of His native land (Mtt 27:46), and worked with His hands.
He died young
because He was sincere.
They killed Him, because in their eyes, He was betraying the truth (Jn 14:6). But my God died without hating anyone.
He died excusing His killers, which is even greater than forgiving them (Lk 23:34).
My God conquered death and from His hands sprang a new flower …. RESURRECTION!
So many people find it hard to accept my weak God,
my God who weeps, my God who does not defend Himself.
It is hard for them to accept my God – abandoned by God.
My God who had to die in order to triumph.
My God who made a thief, a common criminal, the first canonized saint of the Church (Lk 23:43).
My God who died young accused of being a political agitator (Lk 23:14).
It is difficult to accept my weak God, my God who suffered the sting of temptation (Mtt 4:1-12);
my God whose sweat fell like drops of blood (Lk 22:44) before accepting His Father’s will (Mtt 26:39).
This God of mine, this weak God is difficult to accept for those who believe that one triumphs only by conquering
for those who believe that one can defend oneself only by killing,
for those for who salvation is synonymous with force, and is not sheer gift,
for those for whom what is human is sin,
for those who think that to be a saint one must be without feelings.
My weak God is difficult to accept for those who go on dreaming about a God who is not like man/woman.
You cannot understand my God at all…..unless you understand LOVE.
JESUS CHRIST – THE VISIBLE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD.
PRAYER TO GROW IN LOVE FOR JESUS CHRIST
St Eugene de Mazenod
O Lord, my God,double, triple, increase my love a hundredfold,
that I may love you, not only to the best of my ability,
– which is a mere nothing –
but that I may love you as fully as did the saints,as fully as your Holy Mother did and still does.
And yet, my Lord,this is not enough.
Why should I not wish to love you to the extent that you love yourself?
It is an impossibility, I know, but I can certainly wish it,and do so sincerely
from the depths of my heart with all my soul.
Yes, my Lord,I wish to love you as much as you love yourself.