Blog # 292 The divine presence of Jesus
The reality of a winning high school football season recalled preserved and available in news articles cut from the local newspaper and pictures in the high school year book is indeed real in a limited sense. The reality of the life and love of Jesus the Person of the Word of God incarnate currently available to us by faith is essentially different.
In relating to Jesus we are not relating to the limited human reality of a football team capable of living only once in the present and after that only in the memory of someone who would remember or pass down through history the remembrance of the reality rather than a current presence of it. We realize such memories can have real power to inspire and call forth from a future coach and future students in our local school real hard work and real dedication to practice all that needs to be practiced in order to have a great team in a current season. But there is an essential difference between this and the real presence of the Resurrected Divine Jesus, present as GOD is present, in all of creation, everywhere, today.
We must never forget that in the person of Jesus, by faith, we are relating to God. Limited for a while according to God's plan ( Phil 2: 16), Jesus was truly one of us. He walked and talked ate grew tired and responded to events abound Him in joy and sorrow in a way that was as human as our own. He could and should be imitated in this, but He did not come merely to be imitated.
Jesus was always, personally, even in the historical limitations of His experience on earth, divine, When His work on earth was done and His perfect human love for the Father and their perfect love for us was fulfilled on the Cross, then, as the Risen Christ, His story would take a new turn. Because they were true, His human experiences would be dated in time and in history, which means, in all ages since He walked among us in human flesh, they would be spoken of in the past tense. But the Risen Christ is free of time. As with the Father so with the Word: "a thousand years are as yesterday...or a watch in the night" (Ps 90:4), and "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day" (2 Pet. 3:8)
The presence of the Risen Christ among them was for the Apostles, for Paul, and for the early Church the foundation and a substantial part of their faith. Jesus was alive until Calvary . But now, after the Resurrection He is alive. They knew this for the forty days He appeared among them here and there from time to time. But after His ascent to the Father it still would be true.
It is true today. Our faith in the presence of the Risen Christ among us is a gift of the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus and sent by the Father in Jesus' name. (Jn 14: 16 ,25, 26). The Spirit calls to our minds and clarifies in history the content of the message Jesus was sent to bring. We want to know today what it means for us to hear Jesus say to the Father "as You sent me into the world so I have sent them into the world" (Jn 17: ), and when He says to the Apostles "I solemnly assure you, the person who has faith in me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him". (Jn 14: 23). And the words of Paul: " I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me." (Gal 2: 19).
By faith we know the Eternal Word of God came among us and was given the name (Emmanuel). Throughout His entire ministry Jesus fulfilled the Father's will for Him on earth. (Jn 8:29; 6:38; 5:30; 4:33).That was the past tense of it. That we read in the Bible. In the present tense we recall the baptism of the Lord, reflect upon its meaning, and with the same gift of faith invite the Risen Lord to fulfill the same Father's will IN US. That we do not merely read. That we live, to the glory of the Father through with, and in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Lord Jesus crucified and risen from the dead two thousand years ago in history, as I reflect upon what I have written in this blog, I recall the words of the prayer you prayed aloud at the 'last Supper' in the presence of your chosen Apostles and in the presence of anyone who would read the seventeenth Chapter of the Gospel of St. John. You prayed to the Father that all who would come to believe in You would be ONE, not merely that we would be friendly toward one another, and that we might work together in helpig the poor, all of which would be a bleesing for the world, but that we could be recognized as united in our faith and love for You not as individual blades of grass are united in a beutiful lawn but as sharing Your Divine Life as branches share the life of a singular vine or the members of a single human body share in the life of that body, SO THAT the world, seven billion human creatures living on earth today would know it was Thee, Father, Who sent me to invite them to be one in us, I in Thee, You in Me and I in them.
How sad it is for me, dear Jesus, to know how far removed we who do profess a faith in you are apparently not concerned or aware of your prayer as it should affect us all , let alone to make it ours and bring it to life in our present moment of history which is starving for lack of Your love.