Blog # 412 "...lifted up.
This is what Jesus said of His death: "...once I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself," (Jn. 12: 32 f, Jn. 3: 14,15). To hear this makes it possible. To believe it makes it real. To live it makes it ours. It is God's plan for all people in response to the death of Jesus. It was about love. Listen. Believe. Love. "There is no greater love anyone, not even Emmanuel, God Among Us, could have, than to lay down His life for others in obedience to the Father's will. To die on the Cross was the greatest thing Jesus came from Heaven to do. It was His greatest love. It is the love we who have believed and through Baptism, united with Jesus as branches on a vine, are to possess and share with one another. "Love one another as I have loved you." It is not that we will be called to be crucified or die a cruel martyrs death but that we are to live and die giving ourselves in many ways great and small day by day as expressions of the total love to which we are committed by our union with Jesus in Baptism. (Jn. 13: 34; Jn, 15: 13).
I have known people through the years who have walked away from the Church and joined another or just stopped going to any church because of several various reasons, among which were a grouchy priest or Sister, sermons on money, or lack of friendliness in a congregation.
Such reasons are examples of elements that touch the surface. They are not what the Church is about. Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost touch what the Church is about : love, God's love for us, and our love for God and one another in Christ Jesus. No one in his or her right mind would walk away from that kind of love. When it is a question of 'leaving' the Church, I think it is in many cases simply a question of not knowing what the Church really teaches.
"...if I be lifted up" is to say if you only knew my love for you, you would come to me and you would bring with you others whom you love who are searching for meaning peace and joy in their lives. That is a promise and an invitation from God!