Saturday, May 7, 2011

We Are Christians

We are Christians. What does this mean?

It does not mean that we are religious fanatics or intellectual slaves. It does not mean that we hate the physical world or refuse to be engaged with the realities of space and time. It does not mean that we consider ourselves God's "exclusive, private club" on earth. It does not define the language we speak, our cuisine, or our style of dress. It is not a racial or ethnic label. What does it mean to be a Christian?

It means that Jesus Christ is the center of our lives, and that we find Jesus through that remarkable gift of sharing our lives with other persons--the gift of the community of believers guided and nourished by Jesus through Word and sacrament, the gift which is the life of the Church.

We do not think that we are perfect; nor do we think that being Christians means that all of our opinions are correct or that the thoughts and experience of others are unworthy of attention and respect. Indeed we are willing to learn from any human being who seeks the truth in love, but we also have a great desire to share the wonderful gift that has been given to us in Jesus Christ. It is not our task to condemn any person, nor do we wish to force Jesus on any person. It is simply that our lives are shaped by the presence and the beauty and the love of Someone who we know is real, and who wants to give himself to every human person.

Thus, with open hearts and with recognition of our own weakness (and our need for forgiveness), we say to everyone, "Jesus loves you! Jesus is the way to the fullness of joy for every human being whom he has loved personally! Jesus brings new life! Jesus is Lord!"