John 5:40 But you do not want to come to me to have life.[1]

Let’s be realistic.  Following Jesus is no walk in the park,…it is accepting the worst that the world has to give, taking it unto myself, and stumbling up the path, the Way, to Calvary, following Jesus.  It is the inevitable dying with, in and for Jesus, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  It is completely letting go, riding the roller-coaster of life without holding on, trying to control it, but leaving our safety, our security, our lives, our very selves totally in the hands of the Father.

So, while Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, the Sadducees, as well as the local bystanders, the gawkers, the thrill-seekers who were there for the side-show, the “magic,” the miracles, the free bread, the entertainment, watching the game of one-upmanship by someone who always seemed to get the better of those “righteous” hypocrites, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who always looked down on everyone, he was and is also talking to me, right here, right now…no holds barred.  He sees right into my soul, my reluctant, timid, tepid soul, hanging back, never really fully committing myself, never really letting go of my “lifeline” to the world, which, if I ever took the time to really look at it, is the chain that binds me to my addictions, my obsessions, my cruelty, my evil negativity, my rejection, my solipsism, my self-centeredness, my idolatry of the crumbling, frail, feeble, aging façade I call my “precious,” my inflated ego who gets popped and has to be continually repaired, excused, hidden, exposed, refurbished…and which, when I really take a hard look at myself, I hate, despise, am disgusted by, am revolted by, and would discard, disavow, dismiss, even destroy that who aspect of me if I could.

The interesting, the wondrous, the amazing, the incredible thing about Jesus is….that He sees all of my junk, all my baggage, all my warts and blemishes, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and He still loves me…He really, actually loves ME!

St. Paul puts it this way: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?…For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Rom 8:35, 38-39]  He could have just as easily said addictions, obsessions, cruelty, evil, negativity, rejection, solipsism, self-centeredness, idolatry for Jesus was referring to me when he said:“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”[Mk 2:17; Mt 9:13; Lk 5:32; 1 Tim 1:12]

Jesus, I am so sick I don’t even recognize that I am sick.  I have become so use to my addictions, my obsessions, cruelty, evilness, negativity, rejections, solipsism, self-centeredness, self-idolatry that it is my modus operandi, my de rigueur, my self-installed life-coach which, instead of listening to You, Holy Spirit, and to my conscience, I am controlled by Pavlovian responses programmed to react to the world.  I am hooked up to “life-monitoring” machines alright…but they’re the wrong machines, dripping the drugs of my addiction, stimulating the I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want [Rom 7:19] response.

Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin. [Rom 7:24-25]

Fortunately, God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, YOU ALL love me…Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. [Rom 8:33-34]  Amen.  Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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