Sunday, February 13, 2011

Knowing Jesus

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds all in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me your evildoers’” Matthew 7: 21-23

I bet if I asked you, you could tell me something about George Washington. I bet you could tell me something about Abraham Lincoln, too. And I bet you can even tell me something about Martin Luther King, Jr. Could you even tell me something about Jesus? In fact, many people reading this could probably tell me several things about each of the men mentioned above. But let me ask this question now: how many of you know George Washington? Who of you reading this knows Abe Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Anyone out there know Jesus?

You see, there is a big difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone. And while we can know all about (or think we know all about) people from history, the bottom line is that we can never know them because they are dead. But not Jesus. If you go to Jerusalem and visit the tomb of Jesus it is empty. There is no body because Jesus conquered death and rose again alive from that tomb on the third day. And the reality is that we can know Him. In fact, He wants us to know Him and I think this Scripture shows that it is imperative to know Him, and not just know about Him.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is very important to know about Jesus and our Faith. We should have a working knowledge of what we believe in our minds and we should be ready to articulate it to others (see 1 Peter 3: 15). Especially since there is so much confusion out there about what Catholics believe. I call this head knowledge. But if all we are is walking and breathing Catholic encyclopedias, is that enough? Does it make sense to know the Ten Commandments but never follow them? Is it beneficial to our spiritual lives to know the seven Sacraments but never go to Mass or receive Reconciliation? Of course not.

Jesus wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. He wants us to not only have head knowledge of Him, but HEART knowledge as well. He doesn’t just want us to know about Him, He wants us to know Him. The temptation is to think about Jesus as just another historical figure from the past that said and did some nice things, but doesn’t have any impact on our life today. But nobody asks “WWGD?” (What Would George Do?), while millions around the globe live their lives each day asking “WWJD?” (What Would Jesus Do?). How about you? Do you know Jesus? Is He your best friend?

The history of the Church is filled with the blood of martyrs. No one dies for a list of rules or a book of doctrine. People are willing to die for someone they love though. Jesus died for you and me and the martyrs were privileged enough to be able to love Jesus as deeply in return. In the end, on our judgment day, no amount of prophetic words, exorcisms performed or mighty deeds accomplished will be enough to get into heaven if we are strangers to Jesus. May we live each day trying to know Him more and more.

Dear Jesus, I want to know You. I want to have an intimate relationship with You. I want You to be my best friend. Please give me the grace to open my heart more and more to You each day. Amen.

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