Isaiah 22:19-23; Ps 138:1-3, 6, 8; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20
Building on our “long” reflections of last week, we come to the very crux and heart of our Catholic faith and life. Who is Jesus Christ? And what does he mean in my life?
If I cannot answer that question then what I do in my life? My parish participation is in vain and almost meaningless. It is void of life and power.
Now I probably have to come to you and pick you up off the floor. Why? Because without knowing Jesus Christ personally, our lack of faith is pointless and has no direction, life or destiny for eternal happiness. Is that shocking? It should be.
What’s the future?
The older faithful ones have passed, gone meet Jesus. Most of the teens, young adults up to about 40 have left. And those who remain don’t have much hope as church populations are falling and churches are being closed and sold. There is not enough money to pay the bills and fewer priests to serve the needs.
If this future seems bleak, where do we turn for help? Turn to the Gospel stories about Jesus Christ in our New Testament. That book is most important in our life, especially the gospel of St. John. I have found a wonderfully helpful edition. It is “The New Testament, St. Joseph New Catholic Version,” 2015 Catholic Book Publishing Corp., New Jersey, www.catholicbookpublishing.com.
Right there with Jesus
The main reason I love this edition is that everything Jesus is quoted as saying in printed in red ink. So his words are very easy to see without having to underline them in red or use a red high liner. As I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my reading, something marvelous happens. I understand what I am reading. Sometimes I feel like I am right there with Jesus watching everything that he is doing, like feeding five thousand men not counting the women and children. The disciples collected twelve baskets of fragments left over. And they didn’t go out to a local bakery to buy enough bread, which wouldn’t have been found.
The Holy Spirit activates the gift of understanding that God gave us at our confirmation. After Jesus went back to heaven, he and the Father sent their Holy Spirit to guide the church until the end of time.
The greater miracle
Simply as we read these “red letter” gospel stories, it is as if we are a disciple coming to know who Jesus was and what he was about doing. And we come to know what he is doing today. The greater “miracle,” is that Jesus enlightens our minds and pierces our hearts with more of his love so we can tell those about the miracles of Jesus.
This new edition of the New Testament has many other wonderful features. It has footnotes at the bottom of the pages further explaining the text. It points us to other similar texts. There is an index, easy to find book tabs, a Bibles study guide and dictionary. This is a wonderful aid to our understanding and love of Jesus in one easy to read, quick reference book for only $7.75.
Have a wonder-filled week being radiated with Jesus and radiating his love to others. I promised that your life will not be the same after using these simple tools of growth.
Peace and all good!
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)