Saturday, May 18, 2019
Finding Jesus together
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We need community. We need each other. We need the Body of Christ. We need the Church.
Paul and Barnabas worked themselves literally to death for the sake of the Body of Christ. They spent themselves completely so that others could be built up in the faith. I myself have still much room to grow in this area, but I think we can all say that there are ways we can grow.
Judas leaves. He steps away from Jesus and away from those who are close to Jesus. If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then when we lose Jesus, we lose our way, our truth, and our source of life. Judas thus soon ends up finding himself lost in despair, perhaps feeling stuck in the mess he has made of his life’s course, and he cannot take it any longer. He has forgotten hope, because he is doing it on his own, without others to help him recover his direction, but instead with his eyes set on himself, his own sin, and not on Jesus.
Paul and Barnabas work hard to make sure the center of their message is not themselves. They are meant to draw people in and then to lead them to Jesus. The goal of the Christian community is to help each other keep their eyes on Christ. This is, in some sense, built into the very structure of this building. We are all, or almost all of us, facing the same direction, that is toward the Cross and the tabernacle, and during Mass, toward this altar. This is where our eyes are meant to be fixed - not just for 60 minutes each week, but for every moment we are awake.
If we keep our eyes there, then we will find peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, and all the other fruits of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives us. If Jesus is the center of our lives, then we will be what we are meant to be: the beginning of the New Jerusalem that we heard about in the second reading.
In the New Jerusalem that finds its fulness in heaven, God dwells with His people forever. In the beginning of the New Jerusalem that is the Church, the Christian community is known to be followers of Jesus because we love each other: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." And if we do that well, we will begin to draw others into the same mystery that we enjoy. We allow them to find what fills the deepest longing of their hearts: a relationship of love with the one who makes all things new. May the Lord renew the face of the earth by renewing our souls in this Eucharist, by renewing the Church in love, and thus renewing the world by the spreading of His kingdom of peace.