I am convinced about one thing that really matters: Jesus is everything!
Jesus is mankind’s best and only hope. He is the Savior of the world and the salvation of all who long and search. Our most enjoyable and wonderful task is to “make him known.” We can do that in many ways but the goal is always to share him, not our plans, programs and theology. (Yes, I understand, good theology matters deeply since the person of Jesus pushes us to think and do good and health-producing theology about his life and person!) This is why Fr. Joseph Girzone, author of the best-selling Joshua book series, continues to inspire me deeply and remains a trusted and much-beloved friend in my life. Fr. Joe gets this! Jesus is his life and message. In Joe’s recent monthly email he wrote the following timely and provocative thoughts:
Lately, various Christian denominations have been embarking on new evangelization programs to promote the Christian message. However, it is very disturbing that the approaches being promoted by all of these groups whose material I have read, are concerned about theological correctness and good catechesis, and proper understanding and concern about important modern issues. That it is all good, but, what struck me about all of these approaches is that hardly anywhere in their documents is Jesus mentioned as a focus of evangelization. And that is precisely why people are drifting away from the churches, because rarely does anyone talk about Jesus other than by way of commenting on a brief gospel passage occasionally, and usually without much depth. It is as if clergy don’t realize that Jesus is our religion, not theology or scripture, or issues. Jesus is the message, the others are the medium of the message. But, we have made the medium the message and the real message, Jesus, has been pushed into the background, almost to the point of irrelevance. That is not only sad; it is tragic. As a result people are walking away from religion because it no longer feeds the hunger in their souls. When have you heard people talk about contemplative prayer centered around the presence of the Trinity living within us (all italics are mine)?
Joe is so right. The reason for contemplative prayer is Jesus. The reason to be filled with hope is Jesus. The reason for getting up today and living by faith in God’s promises is Jesus. Christ is all. I wish more Christian leaders, teachers and bloggers would make this statement, and help people understand what it means, over and over. You know what, I think I will try even more in the days ahead. This much I can do . . . make Jesus the center of everything I do and say. Jesus Christ is ALL.