Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
One sometimes hears the complaint from Catholics – especially of my generation, confirmed before or during Vatican II – that they never had a “personal relation” with Jesus. I confess I find that hard to understand, as everything in our Catholic education was focused around precisely that relation. We had sacramental communion with Our Lord – His “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.” When we returned from Communion, and, kneeling, buried our heads in our little hands, we were encouraged to listen and converse with the Eucharistic Lord we had just received. In the confessional, we confronted – in the darkness – the Crucified Lord whom our sins had wounded, and who absolved us of them.
Yet perhaps more now than then there is a tendency to read the Gospels and then set out to do the things we see recommended – or commanded there – quite without realizing that we are disciples of Jesus, and, as such, live and die in union with Him. Living with and in Him, we are given missions from the Master, who has chosen us. That means we are sent by Him – we do not choose ourselves, nor choose Him, nor do we give ourselves our missions. And having been sent by Him, we go “in His Name” – and that which befalls us will mirror that which befell Him. Some will understand and hear the words of life we live and preach; but others – perhaps most – will hear for a bit, but then gladly turn away from us, and even against us. That is, away from Him Who sent us, and against Him Who sent us.
“No slave is greater than His master, nor any messenger, greater than the one who sent Him.” Sober words. But Jesus immediately follows them by saying: “blessed are you if you do it.” Blessed! To share the destiny, and the lot, of the Son of God – what greater blessing can there be? The one thing we must avoid at all costs is success, since we are following a Crucified Lord, who is known by His wounds after his Resurrection. Maybe that’s why so many people have instinctively avoided a “personal relation” with Him! It costs everything.