Here’s my homily for September 26, 2010 the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time given at Montclair State University’s Newman Catholic Campus Ministry. The readings for this Mass can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/092610.shtml. Thanks for reading and your feedback and comments! God Bless
This past week, the receiver for the New York Jets, Braylon Edwards was arrested for DWI. He and two of his teammates, his girlfriend and another friend of theirs were driving home after a night out ending at a night club, till after 3 am. We’ve heard the message over and over about the dangers of drunk driving, we’ve seen the commercials “over the limit, under arrest,” so often that it’s sad that drunk driving still happens as often as it does. What makes this even more disappointing than the usual “celebrity behaving badly" story was highlighted in a column by sports writer Michael Vaccaro. Writing in the NY Post, he said; Every time something bad happens in sports, we reach by instinct for silver linings to hand over to athletes armed with silver spoons. And so we reach to the most over-used phrase in modern sports. Cautionary tale.
Or, the term that seems more familiar to me, “warning signs.” Vacarro recounted that about a year and a half ago, Edwards was celebrating with his teammates from the Cleveland Browns. He and his millionaire friends spent over $3,000 on a bar tab. Obviously they weren;t having a couple of beers. That evening Edwards got a hotel room where he slept off the bender. His friend Donte Stallworth didn’t, drove home, thankfully safely at the time...but then got hungry a few hours later so he went back out to get some food. A 59 year old named Mario Reyes, just finishing up a night at work at a shipping company was walking to a bus stop when Stallworth ran him down in his Bentley. Remember, this was a couple hours after he had gotten home from the bar and when he was arrested his blood alcohol was at .126, still way over the legal limit.
Vacarro’s excellent column went from being enraged to worried for Edwards as he concluded: Edwards saw all of that up close, saw the hazards of even one night of poor judgment. He was there...and yet, early yesterday morning, it was Edwards himself who was pulled over ... allegedly blew a 0.16 [on the breathalyzer test]-- twice the legal limit and significantly higher than his friend Stallworth's reading the night he killed a man. If Edwards really was just like us, he would understand something this morning: He's lucky. Lucky he ran into a cop and not a tree, lucky that we aren't talking about three dead Jets -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Vernon Gholston were in the car. You hope this will wake him up, that this will be the cautionary tale that hits home, for him and for others. But we all know better, don't we?
That final sentence seemed to get to what frustrates so many with all of these celebrity stories. Not that people make mistakes - we all know all too well that we make plenty of them ourselves. But when we see celebrities, who are already in the public spotlight for major scrutiny are given a major warning sign and that they seem to ignore it. We look at that and think - “Didn’t Edwards see what his friend, his teammate did, and that he ended up killing a man?” Wouldn’t that be enough to scare him straight? We hear the latest about Lindsey, Paris, Snookie passed out on the beach - know how they’ve been arrested, in jail, seen other celebs die from some of the things they’ve done and wonder - how many warning signs will it take for them to see how this destructive behavior can cost them and others their lives?
That’s the thing with warning signs though - you have to see the importance of them, realize what’s at jeopardy and then make a fundamental choice or decision to pay attention to them. To learn from them. To heed the warning...
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is issuing a warning sign to the pharisees. And it’s not simply a warning about the need of taking care of the poor. We have to put today’s Gospel in context to get to the depth of what Jesus is saying. The last few weeks we’ve been hearing Jesus teaching. Everyone’s been there listening to Him... He’s got his disciples and followers there. He’s got the Pharisees, the religious elite of the day there checking out what Jesus is saying. And what have they been hearing?
The prodigal son story (which we reflected on 2 weeks ago); the parable of the dishonest steward (which was last week’s gospel). Before we pick up on today’s Gospel reading there’s a small but really important incident that the lectionary skips before we get to Jesus telling this story about a dead man named Lazarus. In that skipped portion, the Gospel says that “the Pharisees who heard all of this laughed at Jesus.
Imagine that - they laughed at all that they had just heard - the story of the prodigal son, the story of the dishonest steward... They laughed at Jesus’ revelation of who God is, this loving, merciful father who never stops thinking about any of His Children any of us - even the most lost, wayward of us... They laughed at Jesus’ telling them that the blessings of wealth, health and power aren’t signs aren’t ways of showing how great and wonderful we are in God’s eyes... but rather it’s in what we do with those, how we live as God’s own children that will determine that. They laughed at these things, considering themselves more superior to what Jesus was warning them about. They were missing the warning sign that Jesus was offering which was how destructive they were being to their spiritual lives. Because as the rich and powerful Pharisees - they knew it all - they “got” religion... (Who’s this Jesus telling us who God is? How dare he tell us that we need to take these blessings which tells us God loves us and help those who God has cursed - that’s why we’re rich and they're poor).
So much does he even care and love the Pharisees, Jesus is undeterred by their mocking, he tries again with another warning. So we hear this cautionary tale about this poor man Lazarus. If you listened carefully, Jesus isn’t condemning wealth or riches. He’s condemning that the rich man who died was so attached to them, so blinded by them, embarked on a lifelong relentless pursuit for them, even to the expense of everyone around him. This materially poor and suffering man doesn’t even cross his mind as he passes him on the front stoop everyday. What’s so jarring is that the man isn’t even some nameless, anonymous individual. The guy knows his name — LAZARUS. And so even after he had ignored the opportunity to utilize the most precious gifts of wealth, health and power to help the man at the door. After he had rejected the love of God which could have been radically transformed his and Lazarus life and countless others around him... after all that, he’s wondering why there’s this abyss and chasm between him and God. He doesn’t even recognize he’s created the abyss. And even then he remains self-centered...as he finally acknowledges Lazarus by name, only to ask Lazarus to now alleviate the torment he’s created for himself.
By then, Jesus warns, it’s too late.
God’s love, His Mercy, His desire for us to be with Him for all eternity never ends. That’s who God is. So these warning aren’t meant to scare us into following Him. But Jesus wants us to be clear that these are all choices that we make. Choices that are played out everyday in countless ways right here in our towns, our families, our campus, dorms and classrooms. Am I pursuing Him? Am I trying to follow him? Am I striving to live this life in the way He created me too? Am I desiring and seeking Him?
Or do I laugh in the face of Christ by my actions (or inactions) On a certain level, when we really reflect and think of all that God has done for us, all that we’ve experienced and continue to learn and grasp, it’s sad that we even need such warning signs. What is sadder still is if we chose to ignore them.
Hi everyone - here’s my homily for the 25th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - September 19, 2010 given at NEWMAN CATHOLIC CAMPUS MINISTRY @ MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY . The readings can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/091910.shtml (You definitely need to read the Gospel parable this week!!!). Thanks as always for reading and your feedback and comments. They’re much appreciated...
It’s got to be incredibly difficult being a young adult in the year 2010. To be in college: trying to think about, pray about what you’re going to do in the future. That was the thought I had the other morning. I was on the treadmill reading the newspaper (believe me, you can do it, I was doing hill inclines that day...) And this headline caught my attention - AMERICANS TRUST BUSTED. The lead paragraph kind of summarized it all as it said - Confidence in America's pillar institutions, from government to the press to religion, is mired in the doldrums, according to a new poll. The article went on to give all sorts of statistics comparing them to just a few decades ago that all showed how little we seem to trust anyone anymore. And you know, after just reading that sentence, I thought - I can’t blame you guys if you are that pessimistic and fall into those majorities who distrust everyone.
Politicians promise all kinds of things during campaigns, there’s American-Idol type of hype leading up to elections and yet, things seem so messed up long after election day is a memory and a new political campaign begins... from people unable to find jobs, keep jobs, pay for school... We hear all kinds of reasons why, astronomical numbers of money are talked about (when you’re used to ordering off of McDonalds Dollar Menu, you really can’t comprehend what billions or trillions of dollars is) - and so at the end of the day, we just feel like - well we voted for this person, or supported that party and things are just as bad or worse for me and my friends... why did I care, why did I believe, why did I vote - why did I trust them???
Religious figures, can’t blame you there either. As Catholics, it’s a sad thing we can’t deny, it’s a sad thing I can’t ignore that some priests did some terrible things. Whether it was a crime of sexual abuse or a financial scandal, or simply priests, religious who broke their vows - didn’t remain celibate, were disobedient to the Church. There’s plenty of counter-arguments that people make in response that are all legitimate, and important to remember - if we were counting, that there’s more good examples than bad examples... but there’s a sense that when it comes to the Church, this is a place, that makes strong stances on what we stand for, on what we believe. So it’s natural that with that reality, we believe that these kinds of things just shouldn’t happen, they shouldn’t be tolerated. And they shouldn’t... But they did. So people ask why should I care, why should I believe, why should I trust them either?
The press or the media - well, I don’t even know where to begin there. You read one story one day, it’s amplified on the net, TV, radio (for those of us who still listen to that) - two days later whoever the story’s about tries to get their response out that says “That report is not true at all... absolutely never said that - it never happened.” Yet at that point, it’s like a whisper in a rock concert. At that point, it doesn’t seem to matter - we assume either the press is lying or the person is lying, or their both lying. The attitude is something like “well, whatever, they’re all bad, they’ve all betraying each other, (or will at some point, we assume)... can’t trust them either.
Real cheery stuff, huh?
The thing is, there’s no sugar-coating or tip toeing around any of this. We can’t dispute or argue that there’s a reason so many people have such pessimistic thoughts. We can try to point out that there is more to those stories than just these headlines that point to the majority of people who do the right thing, who are trustworthy... but these stories are just so bad and hit so hard - it’s hard to see past them.
Part of the reason I think that this seems worse than it has ever before is because beyond this somewhat global sense of lack of trust, so many of you have had your trust hurt, your trust betrayed or violated on a personal level: Parents or family members who’ve let you down; Friends who’ve backstabbed you (in far more vicious ways thanks to Facebook, that it can now be disseminated, shared and almost enshrined for your thousands of friends to see and share over and over) that getting to a point where we trust anyone on anything seems to be a rarity.
This issue of trust isn’t a new one. It’s always been important. In fact it’s a cornerstone to any relationship. And no matter how jaded, or cynical as we might be, eventually we will put our trust in someone, something. Even if its something as minimal as say a job. You get a job, you go to work, well you trust after two weeks you’re going to get paid, right? And after that first pay check cashes, your trust increases that each pay period it will be the same. And then we start to trust the employer, the bosses, the company more in more (the person who is trustworthy in small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.) The point is eventually we have to trust someone, something.
So Who do we trust? Not just in our paychecks, but in the big stuff... the life stuff. It’s important to ask ourselves that because - whoever or whatever it is that we place our trust in, eventually it shapes our lives... what you do, how you do it, who you serve.
See that’s the interesting thing that this parable draws out for us. Who we chose to serve, who we place our trust in shapes us: the dishonest servant in this bizarre parable, and the “master” he’s serving - they’re of this world. They’ve made a decision to pursue the goods, the riches of the world (olive oil, wheat — for us maybe it would be Ipads, cars). The steward is sneaky. He gets caught trying to get more for himself, he realizes that his job is on the line, and so he improvises. Realizing the boss is enraged at all he’s lost, he cuts these deals with all these folks, He improvises. It’s like when you say to your parents - “I FAILED THAT TEST” and then you end up getting a “C” - they’re not thrilled with the C, but it’s better than what they first thought. So in this parable, the people get major discounts, the master realizes “well I was out a lot of money, now because I put the fear of life into this guy I’m not out of as much, maybe he can be useful to me yet.”
It’s bizarre isn’t it - because Jesus doesn’t seem to be making the obvious point that the dishonest servant shouldn’t be acting dishonest at all. I think the thing that made me figure it out is the next line - the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation. The Master, the servant have made a choice to pursue the things of this world. They’ve put their trust in the wealths, and riches of the world. So in a sense Jesus doesn’t seem shocked by this. I guess since he’s all to familiar with that whole “Free-will thing,” he’s not happy that people chose to pursue that, that some put their hope in the things of the world, that they trust that anything in this world can satisfy the deepest longings in their heart. But he can respect that they’ve made that choice and have allowed that choice to direct how they live, what they do. In that sense, there’s integrity in that.
Jesus is trying to say - imagine if those who chose to follow Him had that type of dedication, that type of single minded focus. To always be thinking, acting in ways that reflect they’re children of the light - like this steward does in being a child of the world.
Much of our cynicism and disappointments at all the things that we’ve lost trust in kind of say we want it all... We want to be both of the world and of God’s Kingdom. In truth - why are most people here at Montclair State Univeristy? To get the education, the skills necessary to get a career to set you up for the rest of your life.
Careers, skills, money are all important things. Politicians, employers, teachers and even priests all have roles to play in our daily lives. But as sinful human beings, each of us, and the institutions we are a part of, are prone to scandals and failures.
Jesus invites us to make Him our Master. To put our trust in Him. Then we can allow that to guide and shape our lives. With that focus, sure we’ll have disappointments, but we can remain joyful knowing that He hasn’t disappointed. We can even possess things of this world and not be possessed by them for we see their value doesn’t compare to the immeasurable value Christ brings to our lives.
Jesus ends saying we cannot serve both God and mammon, or in other words, we cannot serve Him and pursue the things of this world. Knowing how trustworthy a Master he is, If we chose to put our trust in the things of this world, can we be all that surprised that we end up disappointed?
<--British Soldier Glenn Hockton
Hi everyone, here’s my homily for the TWENTY FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - September 12, 2010 given at the NEWMAN CATHOLIC CENTER at MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY. The readings can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/091210.shtml . As always - thanks for reading and all of your feedback! God Bless - Fr. Jim
“Rosary Saves soldiers life...” OK when I saw that headline, you got me, I’m going to click to read it. The story reported that Glenn Hockton who is 19 from England is absolutely convinced that a rosary saved his life. Before he had left for Afghanistan, Glenn had asked his mother to get him a rosary, which he had kept on himself ever since. Just about a month ago, he was on patrol when he felt the prayer beads, which he had been wearing around his neck fall off. When he realized something had happened to make them fall off his neck, he stopped, saw the beads on the ground and bent down to pick them up. As he had bent down he made a horrible discovery. He realized that he was standing on a landmine. Glenn had to stand there for 45 terrifying minutes while his colleagues successfully managed to get to him and bring him to safety.
If that’s not impressive enough, add this part to the story. Glenn’s great-grandfather also credited a rosary with saving his life in World War II. Towards the end of that war, Glen’s grandfather who was a member of the British Army had been captured. He and the other prisoners from his platoon were forced to march away from the advancing Allied armies. As he was walking across a field with half a dozen of his platoon, he saw something on the ground. It was a rosary. Just as he bent down to pick it up, was the exact moment a bomb blast suddenly went off. Glen’s grandfather was the only member of his platoon who survived that blast.
This story appeared in all kinds of news sites and forums from FOX News, Associated Press to Catholic web-sites and blogs. People are understandably interested in such a story. Many were even calling it “miraculous.” I bet Glenn saw it that way. That his great grandfather had experienced a similar - rosary-miracle, had told that story enough that it would be passed down and remembered two generations later, well, it obviously made an impression on their whole family. It makes you think that Glen will be forever shaped, forever changed by his own personal experience. In a very vivid way, Glenn can talk about how God loved him enough, cared for him enough, was present to him at the moment he needed him the most, the moment when everything was on the line. Yes, God was there for him. But it’s interesting - I’m not sure that was the miracle...Maybe it was a coincidence...
For me the miraculous thing for Glenn and for each of us is that God is there for us. God has always loved, has always cared, has always been present to us. He was there the moments before Glenn picked up that rosary to the moments after. And He would have been there had Glenn slipped and some tragic, all-to-familiar, and less “miraculous” story had happened. Or had Glenn taken a different walking path, forgot about the rosary he was wearing on his neck and in a sense never really acknowledged God’s presence at all that day.
That’s the incredible news that Jesus speaks to us as we hear this well-known Gospel:
That God never stops thinking of us. He never stops looking for us. He never stops loving us. He never takes his sights off of us. And even when we run away from his sight, even when we’ve hurt him, taken advantage of his love, forgotten him... even then, He is always hoping for our return, wanting the best for us, His love never ends. He never stops thinking of us.
You almost get the sense that Jesus knows how hard it is for his listeners to hear that, or maybe not hear that, but to actually, really believe that. Look at the crowd who has come to hear him – Pharisees and scribes who are already suspicious (at best) of Jesus and looking at these other dregs of society, these “sinners” coming around and saying “what are they doing here?” - Yeah, if this Jesus is who He says He is, well, he should know that these sinners, these losers (tax collectors - even they’re here, come on... adulterers that’s one thing, but tax collectors...) All these losers don’t belong here. They shouldn’t even dare come into the remotest corners of God’s presence... Those who were labeled sinners already felt that way. That something they had done, said, mistakes they had made, wrongs they had committed – those things had left them disconnected from their neighbors, families and friends. So they believed God, too, had little use for them. Nothing to do but wait for that eternal punishment...
Jesus as he look at this group of people with all of these thoughts doesn’t throw his hands up in the air and say “YOU’RE ALL A BUNCH OF LOSERS - YOU’RE ALL A MESS - I’M OUTTA HERE...” He looks at the Pharisee, he looks at the Scribe, He looks at the tax collector and the sinner and says “Do you guys realize that my Father never stops thinking of you? Never stops thinking about any one of you?”
In his joy, Jesus can’t contain His excitement to tell us who the Father really is. That one sheep, who gets lost out of the 100 – yeah, our Father can’t stop thinking about him... He’s worried about the sheep - is the sheep lost... is the sheep hurt... is the sheep scared... is the sheep about to be attacked by ravenous wolves... I have to find my lost sheep... That one lost coin our of the 10, yeah our Father can’t stop thinking about that either – I know, I have other coins, I’m not broke... but it couldn’t have just “ceased” to exist... it didn’t just disappear, I need, no I must keep looking - I have to find that.
The two sons, our Father can’t stop thinking about either one of them either. They’re both grown men, the Father has done all that he could for them to share His love and His life. First the one wishes him dead (that’s the not so subtle thing he’s saying by asking for his “share of the estate” - Dad I really can’t wait for you to die so I get my inheritance, how’s ‘bout you give me mine now) in the face of the insult, the Father simply gives his son what he promised he would, and watches as the kid takes off. The gospel says after the wayward one has finished making a complete mess and with shame and guilt starts to walk home, “when he was still far off, the Father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” That always struck me - the Father is there, looking for the Son, thinking of him, and at the sight of him, there’s not pain or anger over the past, there’s just joy that the one he’s been thinking of is coming home... Now the other son somehow thinks he’s getting the raw end of the deal because the Father actually loves the brother who messes up as much as he loves him. The Father goes to him, not to argue, not to smack him in the head and ask ARE YOU KIDDING ME - NOW YOU TOO??? - he goes to him hoping the son will see he has never lacked, never been slighted and is loved. That the Father never stopped thinking of Him either, even as he was worried about what was lost.
The thing is that we live in a world keeps perpetuating lies, lies that say that people are as dispensable as lost sheep (hey, got 99 others...) That people are replaceable as lost coins (one of my coins is missing? well that’s what insurance is for) or that there’s a limit to the number of blessings available in this life (I better get my share or make sure he’s not getting more than I did)
Jesus’ can’t contain the joy within himself to tell us... To tell every one of us that God never stops thinking of every one of us. He never stops looking for us. He never stops loving us. He never takes his sights off of us. And even when we run away from his sight, even when we’ve hurt him, taken advantage of his love, forgotten him... even then, He is always hoping for our return, wanting the best for us, His love never ends. He never stops thinking of us. That is the real miracle...
Hi everyone, thanks for checking in and reading my homily for SEPTEMBER 5, 2010, the 23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME given at the NEWMAN CATHOLIC CENTER @ MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY. The readings for today can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/nab/090510.shtml . As always, thanks for reading and you’re feedback. God Bless Father Jim
A few weeks ago, a polling firm reported a finding of theirs from a survey they had conducted which made headlines and sparked extensive discussions all across the country. The survey asked a sampling of the American people “what religion is President Barack Obama?”
Whatever the political leanings each of us has, its curious that a company would ask the question in the first place, because it appears to be provocative. It’s one thing to ask whether you approve of the job the president is doing... or even to ask “do you believe the President shares the same values as you do?” One might suspect that asking this question was designed to stir up a controversy, in effect creating a news story or event, especially since this happened in August which is one of the slowest months for news. If that’s the case, then the polling firm succeeded. The President has said that he became a Christian over 25 years ago. Yet the survey reported that a decreasing number of people identified him as such and an increasing number of people identified him as belonging to another faith or that they were simply unsure.
So many debates have gotten spun out of this issue and there’s been so much ugliness and extremeness in these discussions. Some seem to be using this topic to make political points, personal attacks. In some ways, this has created more division among the American People who are already seem very polarized. It’s hard for people to talk about issues without getting into arguments (which maybe that’s the reason so many chose to zone out on the news altogether and tune into the antics of“Jersey Shore”)
But there’s a teachable moment here. Putting all of that polarizing stuff aside, an interesting and difficult question that emerged from this debate and discussion on the President’s religion. What makes a Christian a Christian? What makes a follower of Jesus Christ a disciple? That’s the core of this entire issue. Does my simply saying “I’m a Christian” make me one? Is it when I fill out a registration form to a particular parish or Church? As Catholics, we know that being Baptized, Confirmed and receiving the Eucharist are essential, but is that enough? There’s a lot of people who went through those sacraments that don’t seem to be very interested in Jesus Christ...
What makes a Christian a Christian? In today’s Gospel, Jesus seems to be hitting that issue pretty directly. At the start of the passage, we hear that there’s “great crowds” of people who’ve been traveling with him. If we were to be able to time travel and come upon the scene there and see these groups of people all walking behind Jesus, more than likely we’d assume they must be followers of his. Yet, with a closer look, in that crowd are people who would betray him, plot against him, deny even knowing him, even shouting for his death.
Jesus knowing their hearts (as well as ours) realizes this, and makes it clear that simply being in his presence or in proximity to him does not make them (or us) a follower. Nor does being able to identify Him or recognize Him for who He is, the Son of God, the Savior, the one sent to redeem us make us a disciple.
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Oh, that’s all that’s required, phew, I thought it was difficult!
That’s pretty demanding stuff. It’s hard to even consider that Jesus is asking us to “hate” anything as a way of showing our love. It’s hard to consider that Jesus is asking us to suffer the weight of a Cross to demonstrate our following Him. Especially since I do love my family, I do love my life. And I try to avoid suffering at any costs (first sign of a headache I’m popping Advil)
Jesus isn’t telling his followers to go and break all of our family relationships saying “Yeah I hate all of you”, nor run out of here saying “OK How Can I suffer today” (“YIPEE!”) He’s basically saying, to truly come to Him, we need to recognize who he truly is. And if we really believe that He is who He says He is - then there’s no way that He can come second to anyone or anything.
If Jesus is the Son of God; If Jesus is our Savior, our Redeemer; If Jesus is our Hope for eternal life; then logically, we have to love Him even more than even those we love the most on this earth. We have to be willing to endure being mocked at by those who don’t believe. We have to suffer with the crosses that come when we decide to live the life He’s calling us too when many in the world around us seem to be going in a very different direction.
Because to be selfless as Jesus is. To care about the poor, the lost, the sick and the dying when people are stepping over those individuals to make sure they don’t end up in the same spots (which, inevitably, as people of this world - we all will eventually) threatens the “balances of power” in the world. When Jesus did these things, they killed Him. And those of the world continue to be threatened by the name of Jesus and his radical Gospel.
That’s some stark realities to be faced with. The thing is, the crowd initially start following him because they were fired up. They saw some pretty awesome miracles. They heard some tremendous preachings and teachings. Something drew them to Him. Something still does. But fear entered in. Maybe they went home to their Mothers and Fathers; their husbands and wives; their brothers and sisters and when they told them what they saw, what they experienced, what there hearts felt when they were in Jesus presence they were laughed at. Maybe when they went to work or school and people asked them “where were you today” and they told him they spent time with Jesus they got suspicious looks, passed over for jobs or positions of honor. And they couldn’t handle that. They were upset with those reactions. So they ended up being part of the crowd that had travelled with Jesus, but didn’t become a disciple.
Something continues to draw people, draw us to Jesus. Something within us knows that He’s different. Knows that he heals the worst fears the turmoils that we experience in those dark nights of our souls. Knows that He touches our hearts and minds and taps into the deepest longings (promising us eternal life can do that to people who’ve seen and experienced death). And He continues to call out to us, inviting us to go deeper, drawing closer, trusting Him more. Calling this community to gather, to come and hear His words, experiencing the miracle of His presence in the Bread and the Wine becoming His Body and Blood - so selfless is He that He’s not demanding us to be obedient to his demands or else, but nourishes us with Himself when we chose to.
What makes a Christian a Christian? It’s somewhat easy to speculate, and debate that question as we’re holding the President or any public person up for scrutiny whether they truly are a Christian or not. Yet, Jesus’ answer to that question - as he looks at you and I leaves us with a different one - are we ready to claim that we are?