Monday, July 18, 2011

Blog # 166 Jesus lives !

Blog # 166 Jesus lives ! A long time ago a small boy told me he wanted to be like Jesus. I have lost contact with him since and I wonder how his life is turning out. "to be like Jesus..." Our Christian faith is not an invitation or command to become a carpenter, but rather the power and command to receive in faith the share in God's love which is offered us uniquely in Jesus each day and in each experience of our life. Many people seem to see and experience the Christian life as an attempt to imitate Jesus, but it is more. We can and should imitate all the holy people who have gone before us and who are living around us now,and Jesus is among them, but with Jesus there is more. We do not merely hear the words of Jesus and then try to make them our own. Rather we receive the experience of prayer as a gift that unites us to Jesus. Prayer is our response,in Jesus, to God's love in our life, death, and resurrection. When asked how to pray by the disciples, if Jesus merely wanted to be a model or a good example of prayer for us, I think the Lord's Prayer would have begun: "My Father...". But the prayer Jesus gave in response to the disciples' request begins with the words Our Father...". We pray not merely in imitation of Jesus but in union with Jesus. We find ourselves trying to become more honest, more generous, more prayerful, more chaste, as the ideal of the Christian life. Many holy people have been sent as messengers and prophets to teach us these good human experiences. We tend to put Jesus in the same category as others, a teacher, a messenger, a prophet, a good example. These insights are true. Jesus is all of these. But Jesus is also more. We tend to think of God as giving us commands and inspiration to encourage us and inspire us to do good and avoid evil, almost as though in creating us, that is in willing that we exist as a unique creature, was for us to get something done for God and wanted us to do it. Again these insights are true. But there is more. Behind and within God's commands is not a need on God's part as we think of need from our experience of need. Nor is there a desire on God's part as we think of desires from our experience. Rather in God's commands we have God's wisdom and love shared with us. In the personal meaning behind the good we are called to do and the evil we are commanded to avoid we have the question of our relationship with God through Jesus. Through reflection upon these insights we can begin to discover the deeper meaning of the words Jesus spoke of the poor widow who gave two pennies to the temple treasury, that she had given more than all of the rest. Jesus was not talking obedience or mathematics in this instance but rather love which is not so much an achievement as a relationship, which can ever continue to grow even between two equal human beings, but unimaginably so between God and us. It is New York City to anyone, but it is where I was born to me. She was a woman to anyone, but she is mother to me. It is December 25th to anyone, but it is Chrismas to those who believe. In each of these realities there is one thing for all and something more for some. There is more in Christmas and Easter not because we are better than those around us or have worked harder, but because we believe, and guided, supported, and motivated by love we seek to grow in holiness in our accomplishment of God's will. May our Christian faith , our union with Jesus in love, bring joy to us and to those around us, now and forever !

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