Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Long Have I Been With You?

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…’” John 14: 9a

Do you ever get exasperated by anyone or anything? I know I do. And you know what? So did Jesus. During the Last Supper Discourses he kept trying to get His Apostles to understand His words and they kept misunderstanding or questioning. And Jesus got exasperated with them. You can almost imagine Him throwing His hands in the air, looking to the sky and saying, “Father, what am I going to do with these guys?” But despite this, Jesus just kept continuing to explain what He was trying to get them to understand, no matter how many times it took.

This should give us hope because I am sure that all of us from time to time get confused by the teachings of Jesus. I bet there are times when we question or doubt what we have been taught in regards to the Faith. Perhaps we have misunderstood what the Church has been explaining to us through Scripture and Tradition and we need it explained again and again and again. Just like Philip and Thomas and all the rest of the Apostles. So we stand in good company in this regard.

The reality is that the Apostles ate with Jesus and lived with Him and saw and heard everything He did for three years. And yet, even after all that, they still misunderstood. They watched Him raise Lazarus from the dead, cast out demons, restore sight to the blind and pull lame to their feet. And yet they were still confused at the Last Supper. They still had fears and doubts. I think they wanted to believe everything Jesus was saying, but sometimes the limited human mind cannot grasp all the subtleties and mysteries of God. And yet here we are 2,000 years later dealing with situations and events that the apostles could’ve never even imagined (like abortion, gay marriage, nuclear bombs, etc.) and we are called to the same level of faith as they, without the benefit of seeing all that Jesus did or hearing directly from His mouth all that He taught. Should it surprise us that we might have some fears, doubts or confusion?

I think perhaps in these instances of fear and doubt and confusion, rather than get stuck on that which is causing these feelings in our hearts and minds, we should focus even more on Jesus. Go to Him in the Mass, in Eucharistic Adoration. Receive His mercy in Reconciliation. Listen to Him speak to you, listen as He explains His love for you, what He has planned for you, what He is preparing for you. Hear the love and gentleness in His tone of voice as He repeats Truth to you over and over and over. His desire is for you to know Him and to know the Father. We need to allow His voice and His Truth to enter our hearts and stop allowing fear, doubt and confusion to reign over us. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, even with our doubts, our fears, our confusion. He remains the same and He always seeks to lead us to the mansions in His Father’s house.

Dear Jesus, help me to know Your love and Your Truth even in the midst of doubts, fears or confusion. Give me the grace to trust in You and all that You have prepared for me, not only in this life, but in the one to come. Amen.

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