I’m Afraid of You, Jesus

Jn 6:19b They saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. [1]

This fascinates me…We see Jesus and we’re afraid. We see Jesus and we’re afraid? [2] John is very subtle about this. These hardened fishermen were use to rough seas, waves and wind. They do not frighten easily. But seeing Jesus, a human being, a man, walk on the sea and not only that, but coming toward them, they began to be afraid. Not quite the terror of Matthew nor the crying out in fright of Mark. Just an inkling of fear, thank you. Maybe John was a bit ashamed that he did not recognize the Lord as he later does after the resurrection[Jn 21:7]…this was a learning experience, what can I tell you.

How often am I terrified when Jesus, in the person of one of these, the least of my brethren, [Mt 25:40,45] walks toward me, encounters me, confronts me. While I refrain from the crying out bit, the rest is very real. What do you want of me? How do you expect me to help you? I can barely help myself. In fact, I can’t truly, really help myself at all,…I only fake it, fumbling around, and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. [Mt 12:45; Lk 11:26] I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m busy…can’t you see I’m busy. I don’t care if its jigsaw puzzles or FreeCell or Tetris or fill in the blank on the computer…I’m busy. I don’t care if you’re waiting; I’m busy texting, tweeting, blogging, rummaging through the caverns of life, not certain where I am going or what I am doing…but whatever it is, it is more important than you,…or you…or You…oh, I’m sorry Jesus, I didn’t recognize You…for You I have time…I’ll be right with You…just have to finish this text, email, puzzle, game, letter, memo, whatever.

Jesus, You warn us that You will be coming, that you will be knocking at my door, that you will be persistent, patiently standing, waiting for me to answer: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. [Rev 3:20a] My response: ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ [Lk 11:7]

I really, in my heart of hearts, don’t want to miss you. I don’t want to not have you come to me and make Your dwelling in me. [Jn 14:23b] But I have to let in the rest along with You… You warned me: what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. [Mt 25:45] You commanded me to love one another. [Jn 13:24] You point out who’s our neighbor, that derelict, that busy-body, that persistent 3-year-old, that nudgy boss, that bore, that hussy, that Koch brother, that ISIS executioner, that Muslim, that Jew, that African/Native/Hispanic American, that illegal, that homosexual, that abortionist, that politician, that…that…that[Lk 10: 25-37]. YIKES!!! If I ignore them, revile them, slander them, even in my mind [Mt 5:28], You see through my pretense, You knock me off my high horse and scream in agony: Why are you persecuting me? [Acts 9:4;22:7]

You are the ultimate nudgy neighbor: I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. [Lk 11:8] For this I thank you. No matter how many times I push You away in others, You keep sending them back. Please keep sending them back. Please help me to open myself, to allow them in, to love them as You did, to risk the possibility of hurt, picking up our cross and follow you amid the taunts and jeers.

But keep me open, help me to hear you in them, help me to open the door. Then, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. [Rev 3:20b] 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.

[2] Matthew and Mark try to put this in context; they clarify that the Apostles thought they saw a ghost. [Mt 14:26; Mk 6:49].


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