A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
July 11, 2020
Who is this Jesus?
July 7, 2018
Who do you say that Jesus is? Who is Jesus to you? These questions are prompted from the reading of Mark’s Gospel today. Jesus and his disciples, amid the travels of Jesus’ ministry, found themselves back in their hometown among people who had known Jesus his whole life as “the carpenter’s son”,” the son of Mary.” However, they did not know him as Jesus the Christ and they certainly did not acknowledge him as the Son of God. Even though he amazed them with the level of knowledge he had about the Scriptures, they questioned where he could have received such wisdom and Mark tells us; “they took offense at him.” Interesting, that even those closest to Jesus were not convinced that he could be anyone other than one of them and in that way they owed him no honor. Mark tells us “[Jesus] was amazed at their lack of faith.” So I ask you again; who do you say Jesus is and who is he to you? We are members of the family of God. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Are we like his kin and neighbors, unaccepting of who he is? Do we welcome him into our homes and in to our very lives with amazement, convinced that he has all knowledge and all power to heal, to forgive, to bestow mercy and grace? And if so, then how do we welcome him? How much time do we spend conversing with him or speaking to others about him? Is he held in high esteem; not for his sake, but for ours? Do our children know him? And if not is there more that we can do to teach them about Jesus? So many good questions to ponder! How sad it must have been for Jesus to see the lack of faith among his kin, even among his life-long friends. This reminds me of so many parents and grandparents who have remained faithful to Jesus and his Church, praying daily, offering their gifts to others, attending Mass and receiving the sacraments often, caring for the poor, only to see that their children have (in their words) “fallen away from the practice of the Catholic faith.” This is heartbreaking for those who experience it and immediately they question what they did wrong. So often I want to say to them that they did what Jesus asked of them, they brought their child to the Church for baptism and the other sacraments, they taught them their prayers, they made sure they were “brought up in the faith” and then, their children grew to adulthood and now make their own decisions. They are now responsible, not only for their own welfare, but for their own relationship with Jesus. What parents can continue to do is to pray for them and anyone who has yet to realize the gift of knowing and accepting Jesus. And parents and grandparents can be sure that as they continue to grow in faith and share their love for Jesus and his Church, their children and grandchildren are witnessing that faith. Let us pray that our young people will see the beauty of the gift of faith as we live it with joy. It was Pope Francis who said we need to live the Gospel – the Good News – with joy; “do not go around like sour pusses,” rather live joyfully your faith in Jesus for by that others will see the gift of faith alive in you, which has the potential to inspire them to seek a relationship with Jesus. With joy we pray,