April 05, 2015 - Easter, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
In a recent article in America Magazine, the editor, Father James Martin, said, “Catholics can talk till the cows come home about Pope Francis, their own parish, and the Mass. But when you ask them about their relationship with Jesus, there are tongue-tied.”*
Traditionally, Catholics have not been comfortable using the language of friendship with Jesus. It just seems too intimate, too casual. Catholics like a more formal image of Jesus.
But which to choose? There are so many. So often, people see Jesus as they want to see him. Jesus who is rugged and not too feminine. Jesus who is strong. Jesus who is passionate. Jesus who is decisive. Jesus who is masculine.
Jesus the good shepherd. Jesus the teacher. Jesus the suffering servant. Jesus triumphant. Jesus resurrected. Jesus the nonviolent warrior, the divine fighter.
Today we celebrate the resurrected Jesus. Jesus who is present among us.
The resurrection is an invitation into the life and power of God. Jesus is not a figure from the past. He is present here and now, a living reality, our God desiring friendship with us.
And so we ask ourselves as we celebrate the resurrection, who is Jesus today? Or perhaps more importantly who is Jesus to me?
Is Jesus my best friend? Catholics in general are more comfortable with the divine Jesus than they are with the human Jesus.
But in the Gospels we experience the human Jesus. Jesus celebrated meals with his friends.
Jesus went with friends to see those were sick, touching them and making them well. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This is very intimate.
Jesus had a personal relationship, a friendship, with his disciples. We need to work on developing the same.
But we have to understand that when we begin to speak to Jesus as a friend, we may not always get what we think we want. Good friends tell us the truth.
In a mature friendship with the Lord, we can come to understand that what we want is not always what we need.
What we want is not always what’s best for us. What we want is not always what Jesus wants.
If our relationship with Jesus is grounded in the Gospels then our encounter with Jesus can be challenging. Our friend Jesus desires to be with us through life, challenging us to live with passion, challenging us to change our hearts and change our ways.
Jesus is present here today in the Eucharist. Jesus is right here with us all the time. If we look with eyes of faith, we can see Jesus in the daily flow of our conversational prayer.
If we look with eyes of faith, we can see Jesus in those of the margins of society. If we looking with eyes of faith, we can see Jesus in the poor, in the outcast, in the downtrodden.
But most importantly, if we look with eyes of faith, we can see Jesus in the bread and the wine. Jesus is here with us on this Holy Night, our Light shining in the darkness.
We Catholics can and should talk about our Holy Father Pope Francis, who invites us to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
We Catholics can and should talk about our church parish as it celebrates 250 years of faith in Acadiana.
We Catholics can and should talk about the Mass because it is the source and summit of our lives, the font from which all blessings flow.
We Catholics need to learn to do a better job talking about our relationship with Jesus, our Lord and our friend.
*Martin, SJ, James, ed. America, March 30, 2015.