Saturday, January 20, 2018

We Need Jesus

The world needs Jesus.

People need the love and mercy of Jesus. People need the freedom to embrace suffering in a way that does not crush them; they need to know and experience the companionship of Jesus in their suffering. 

People need the freedom to forgive and to let themselves be forgiven, so that wounds can heal instead of being passed through the generations until they become great scars that hinder the life of whole societies and cultures.

The world needs Jesus. We need Jesus. I need Jesus!

The love of Jesus is everything. Through his love and mercy, we can be changed and empowered to live a new life. We can become vessels of God's love. We can make God's love and mercy present in the world.

If we look at ourselves just in terms of what we can generate by ourselves, according to the measure of our own powers, we could never hope to do this. But Jesus loves us, and promises to take us beyond the limits of ourselves, to convert us and heal us of our sins, and transform us by the grace of his Holy Spirit.

He wants to make us real lovers of God and of human beings in the image and likeness of God. We should open our own hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, give the Spirit "space" to work within us, ask him to change us.

God has created us and called us to share in his eternal life, to become and remain forever his sons and daughters in his uncreated, only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit is already stirring up this vocation in the depths of our hearts, within the mysterious reality of our daily lives. He is calling us, inviting us to share his joy, even when this call seems inaudible, confusing, or distant.

It often seems perplexing to me, at least when I regard it as an actual proposal for life.

It's easy to talk about it, or talk around it. I can talk forever about being Catholic. I can talk about God and the Church, all the problems in the world, all the errors of people (the closer they are to me, the more eloquent my critique). I can talk about bishops and politicians, doctrine and social issues, who's "good" and who's "bad."

But actually to change, to love the way God loves? How will I ever reach that point? I can hardly even imagine becoming just a little bit less selfish. I could try, but I'd be more likely to fall on my face and end up feeling more guilty. What's missing from my life?

Jesus Christ. A real relationship with Jesus. I forget about him. I forget to communicate with him, to ask him to pour out his Spirit upon me, to renew me, to come and change me. I forget to entrust everything to him, to listen to him, to hope in him. I forget Jesus.

I can go around all day saying "I'm a Catholic, I'm a Christian, I know the right way, I'm one of the good people in this bad bad bad world" -- I can say all these kinds of things and still ignore Jesus Christ.

But I need Jesus. The love of Jesus is everything.

I need Jesus, truly God and truly human, eternally with the Father in the Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, dwelling among us, crucified and risen from the dead, our Lord, our brother: not just Jesus in abstract theological terms but a real Person who loves me and calls me to live in his love.

I don't know how to recognize him and live in a relationship with him. I need to change, but I don't know how to change. All I can do is ask, beg him to change me: "Jesus, change what needs changing in me."

We are always forgetting him. But he is infinite mercy. He comes to us again and again. He calls us. He doesn't want us to remain in our forgetfulness.

When we remember him, we should beg from the poverty of our hearts for his mercy. He knows what we need, how to draw us, to change us, to bring us closer to him.

And when we ask him to change us, we have already begun to love. A new energy, a new kind of life has been awakened in us.

"Jesus, make me the person you created me to be."