Engaging the Word: September 14th, 2014
So, what is so great about Jesus?
There are many ways to answer that question. One way that comes to mind based on this week’s readings has two parts.
First, by his words and deeds Jesus revealed himself as the Son of God. Those closest to him were convinced that he had the words of everlasting life. They really believed that there was nothing more true than the good news that Jesus preached, the news that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that at any moment any one of us can stop, take stock of our situation, correct course, and step into the Kingdom. We can bring glad tidings to the poor and proclaim liberty to captives and the recovery of sight to the blind. We can let the oppressed go free and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. We can get in touch with our deepest and most true desires and find that these are God’s deepest desires deepest and truest desires for us. We can then live that will of God no matter the cost. In vesting Jesus and his teaching with ultimate authority, the followers of Jesus made Jesus their God, and any believer will tell you that it is a good thing that they did, because Jesus is God.
Second, Paul writes to the Philippians that Jesus “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” Yes, Jesus was (and is) 100% God, but Jesus was (and still is) 100% human. The cross that each one of us bears as rational but limited beings is the knowledge that each one of us will die. Fear of death is at the heart of what keeps us from living our lives in the eternal Kingdom of God, from knowing and doing God’s will, from living human life to the full. Fear robs us of life. When we fear, we can miss hearing the Good News and waste our lives. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension holds up our death right before our eyes and puts it into true perspective, saving us from fear, saving us from wasting our lives, and enabling us to enter into eternal life.
1st Reading: Numbers 21:4-9 ~ Responsorial: Psalm: 78:1-2, 34-38
2nd Reading: Philippians 2:6-11~ Gospel: John 3:13-17
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