Monday December 9, 2019
2:05 pm

Loving relationship with Jesus means ongoing work and effort

      Let’s talk about our knowledge of Christ.

      As you know in these weeks following Easter, our first readings come from the Acts of the Apostles, following Christ’s disciples as they spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. I often wonder what was going through the minds of the apostles and others in those days following the crucifixion and resurrection.

      At what point did the epiphany take place? When could they begin to say with assurance that they truly knew Jesus, not just knew “of” him?

      What do we mean when we say we know Jesus. Are we talking about the historical figure from centuries ago? The man we hear about in Scripture at Mass? Can we say we truly know Christ?

      People of that day and time could say they knew Christ but, for many, what they meant was they were aware of his presence among them. Did they listen to Christ’s words; take his message of mercy, compassion and love of neighbor to heart. Read the Gospels? How many times can we envision Jesus smacking himself on the head in frustration, saying, “They just don’t get it…they just don’t get me!”         

      It’s true. If the people of the time, disciples included, had truly known Jesus, they wouldn’t have stood by and let him be crucified.

      True knowledge of Jesus must have been a difficult thing to grasp in those times but seriously, many of us aren’t much better, even with over 2,000 years of hindsight. We claim to know Jesus but what does that mean?

      An analogy might be a couple newly in love. With love comes much work if the relationship is to succeed. The couple spends much time getting to know each other; they share their thoughts, their dreams, their hopes. They hang on each other’s words. They enjoy spending time with one another, not because it’s an obligation but rather because it’s what they want to do – what they are eager to do.

      And, they grow in understanding. They grow in love. That’s the way close relationships work and it takes effort

      Building a relationship with Jesus is no different. When was the last time you truly worked at building your relationship with the Lord?

      It doesn’t happen by magic. We don’t just show up at church and expect that closeness with God will suddenly descend on us. Like our human relationships, this deeper love and intimacy with God takes work. Our Jesus will not impose himself on us but when we start opening that door a crack, the love, the light starts pouring in.

      We’re pious in our prayer but does that prayer read like a laundry list of wants and needs? That’s what mine used to look like but then I realized how unsatisfactory that was. I left prayer feeling no closer to God than I did before. I never took time just to listen.

      Let me share this story with you. We have a chapel here at the Pastoral Center that holds the Blessed Sacrament. I’ve made it a practice to stop by at least once a day for a few minutes for a visit. This particular day I was harried. We were on press deadline and I had a myriad of other issues to contend with. My mind was elsewhere but I was determined not to miss my visit.

      I walked into the chapel wondering thinking what I could pray about in a few short minutes and not seem rude. I was coming up blank. Sitting down, the words popped into my head: “So my Jesus, how are things going for you today?” My words were so ludicrous I started to laugh.

      But in that laughter, I suddenly had this strong sense that God was with me, that God thought it was funny too. We shared a moment I don’t think we would have had if I had chosen to remain a stranger.

      So what’s my point? Read the words of this weekend’s Gospel (Jn 10:11-18): “I am a good shepherd and I know mine and mine knows me.”

      Do we really know Jesus? Does Jesus really know us?

      He’s waiting for the opportunity.

    

      Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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