Friday, February 9, 2024

Walking With Jesus in the Midst of the World

As Christians we place our hope in the mercy of God who has become our companion in Jesus. Jesus wants to be with us, to remind us that we are not alone in front of the enigma of existence. We struggle every day with life, its joys, its suffering, its mysterious and inescapable destiny, but we know that He is here to respond to our poverty with His divine and human compassion.

And as we experience this compassion, we are called to proclaim it, to share it with one another and everyone in need. The call of God's love and mercy extends beyond ourselves; He burns with love for every person, and He longs to enkindle that flame in our hearts. For this reason the Christian is called to live and to manifest something new in the world.

This is our world, full of sin and violence, ugliness, stubbornness and willful ignorance. But God loves the world and wants to save the world through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, whom He has given for everyone. He brings forgiveness of sins. If by the gift of God we have encountered Jesus and experienced His forgiveness, we are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate in Christ’s mission, His giving of Himself. He doesn’t take us out of the world, but calls us to adhere to Him in the midst of the world, to walk the roads of the world along with every human being who is entrusted to us on the path of our daily lives, accompanying them with the richer and more joyful, more hopeful humanity that Jesus gives us as we follow Him. We know that Jesus Christ is the only hope of the world.

This is our poor world, confused, struggling and seeking, full of human persons who have been created in the image of God and redeemed by Christ, and who travel along obscure and winding paths searching for the One who loves them and calls each of them by name.

It is a world in which so many do not yet know Him, or do not know Him enough, or perhaps hold onto Him mysteriously in the depths of their hearts but without knowing all of the beautiful ways He wants to help them, strengthen them, and be a light to their steps. It is also a world of many who have rejected God or who ignore God, even as He continues to passionately seek them out and draw them to Himself. God's mercy works secretly in their hearts, but it also works through us and wants to manifest itself and give itself through us.

God wants the beauty and the glory of His mercy to shine through us, so that those who are weary and heavily burdened by the riddle of life's meaning may see that God Himself has brought something new into history that answers and indeed overflows superabundantly all the depths of the human question.

Here we are, poor earthen vessels of His love. We ourselves are so much in need of healing and of experiencing His love and mercy. Our mission is not one of winning over the world to our party, as if the fulfillment of human existence somehow came from our own selves, our ideas, our projects—as if it were the construction of our own brilliance and coherence, the assertion of our own power.

No. Being Christian means knowing that we are weak and broken, that we depend upon His mercy in every moment, and that we must beg for His mercy to change us and make us grow in the newness of life He gives us in the Spirit. This new life is a participation in His risen and glorified humanity that begins even now, as we journey through this present life. Christ is the meaning of human life and brings everything that is truly human to fulfillment in Himself. In following Him, we don’t become “less human.” Quite the contrary, we become more human! 

We are sinners. We are not called to be disciples of Jesus by isolating ourselves and condemning the rest of the world. Our mission is to let Jesus win us, and win the world with us and through us.