Gospel Thoughts 16 January 2011

January 14, 2011 at 17:00 Leave a comment


In today’s Gospel Story (John 1:29-34) John says of Jesus, “Now I have seen and testified he is the Son of God”. Jesus presented to us in the Gospels was less concerned about convincing people who he was than inviting people to accept his message of God loving them. However, it would seem that who he was has taken on more weight than what he taught. It is easier and safer for us to concentrate on who Jesus was, because we can stay in the world of ideas. Trying live what he taught is dangerous. It might affect our comfort and security. Jesus did not call us to worship him, but to imitate him. If in our own life we pay more attention to what Jesus taught, we have no idea where this might take us, or what we might find ourselves being called to do in our everyday life. If we are serious about following Jesus, we have to be open to being called to the unexpected. When we watch Jesus we see God and come to know a bit about how God “thinks” and loves, and so we get a sense of what we are called to.

If we limit our idea of being Catholic to “going to Mass”, we miss out on a lot. We don’t go to Mass to keep God happy. God does not need our going to Mass. We need it. Our involvement in Mass is our willingness to enter into a relationship with Jesus and the community with whom we are worshipping, a relationship that we cannot predetermine, but that we can choose to be open to. We believe Jesus is the love of God among us, and that he calls each of us to let him show us how to live, often in very specific circumstances. Jesus was open to everybody, and did not threaten or hurl punishments on people who disagreed with him, or demand that people accept his authority. He showed us that God’s love, God’s kingdom reaches out to all. He ate with sinners, and did not threaten them. He invited everyone to know his Father loving them, even as he does today, perhaps even through us. He was not interested in power, but simply offered his Father’s love to everyone. We seem to have gotten away from the basis of his message. Maybe power and authority aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

When we approach Jesus, either as individuals or as a worshipping community, we have to be ready to be surprised, to be open to the unexpected nudge to move in an unexpected direction. We also have to be prayerful, to have an open and trusting attitude that Jesus is real, and that he needs us, in other words, to let Jesus be with us however he chooses to be, that whatever it is it is ok for us to be there. We cannot cut ourselves off from folks who think differently from us. It’s not about us, but about what we let Jesus lead us to do. He does not call us to be safe, secure, or comfortable. He calls us to follow him, and sometimes he is not all that clear about where he is leading us. He does not give us all the answers so we can convince people how right we are while they are not. He gives us a cross that often brings with it a lot of uncertainty, inviting us to trust him even when he seems hidden.

There is a lot of hurt and anger among us these days. The solutions we have been trying – judging, blaming, threatening, excluding – are not working. Approaching Jesus in prayerful openness might open new possibilities as yet not thought of. Instead of pointing fingers and blaming, we might let grace lead us to look at ourselves and the possibilities we are. If we believe we are where we need to be, and that grace is real, we might in our own way choose to trust and to be open to grace without any conditions. Someone has to start taking a chance and trust. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is among us now, and that it will not happen without us. He showed us a God of compassion who is personal and with whom we can have a relationship, who loves us and will not tamper with our free will, not a God whose anger has to be appeased or whom we need to fear, but a God who is with us, who accepts us as we are, and just loves us, God who is “really real”. What we do with this is up to us.

 

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Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

Gospel Thoughts 2 January 2011, Epiphany Gospel Thoughts 23 January 2011

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