Monday, February 10, 2014

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

Recently I read something touting a "politically correct" (but warned against in Scripture) lifestyle as being something Jesus would applaud. 

I immediately thought:  "Oh, really?"  

Just who, I asked, is this Jesus of whom the writer is speaking?  It's definitely not the Jesus quoted and taught about in Scripture and 2,000 years of the Church.  The real Christ clearly taught against what the author was endorsing.

This is extremely important.  Nothing in our lives could be more important.  For those of us who want to respond to the world through the "grillwork" of God's will, a knowledge of the real Jesus is critical. 

If I am going to see the world through Scripture and the teachings of the Church, I must have a working knowledge of what these are.  I cannot make them up for myself.  And certainly I can't invent my own jesus, one who will approve of everything I do.. even sin.  The real Jesus loves me; He genuinely loves me.  He cares enough about me to correct my missteps.  He doesn't overlook the cliffs I'm blindly frolicking about on; He's not afraid of warning me about them lest He interrupt my fun.  He is upset when I (often unknowingly)  entertain temptations coming from the enemy of my soul

"We can make the mistake of trying to make hard truths so palatable," writes Dan Burke at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction, "that we end up presenting half-truths or even worse, untruths (implied or actual).... Yes, we can and must say “come as you are”; but we must also proclaim that the God of Love who meets us where we are, loves us too much to leave us there.  He calls us to union with Him where we will find the Truth that sets us free to know and live an abundant life in Him."

How do I get to know the real Jesus?

I open Scripture and read about Him.

For those who aren't accustomed to doing this, I suggest beginning with the Gospel of John.... reading straight through, taking it slowly and prayerfully (definitely prayerfully).

And however does a layperson get to know the teachings of the church?  Ah, we have such a gift in the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is clearly laid out and indexed.  I don't read it straight through - but when I want to look up what the Church teaches on a subject, I check the index.  It is accessible, clear, and easy to understand.  

"When someone comes preaching another Jesus than the One we preached, or when you receive a different spirit than the one you have received, or a gospel other than the one you accepted, you seem to endure it quite well."  (2 Corinthians 11:4)

May such a thing never be said of us.

Painting:  Carl Heinrich Bloch, Jesus Tempted