Talking About Jesus

Jesus wants to share His life with you so you can experience the fullness of life.  He is inviting each one of us into a relationship with Him, and that makes you someone of untold value to Him, and to us.  

WHO IS JESUS?

We believe that Jesus of Nazareth is God revealing Himself to us in the most humble and understandable way possible.  Jesus himself claimed to be God.  “The Father and I are one” he says in the Gospel of John (10:30).  At this, the crowd prepared to stone him.  When he asked for what good work of his they were going to stone him, they replied, ““We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” (10:33)

Jesus means in Hebrew, “God saves”.  This is the name given for Him to Mary, His mother, by the angel Gabriel. This salvation comes through the forgiveness of sins, which only God can do.  God, in Jesus, His eternal Son incarnate in human flesh, “saves his people from their sins” through His Son’s perfect obedience.  That obedience led people like us to crucify Him, but through that same obedience Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “My servant, the just one, shall justify many, their iniquity he shall bear.” (Isaiah 53:11)

 

Bishop Barron: Who is Jesus and what makes him unique?

 

WHAT IS DISCIPLESHIP?

A CONSCIOUS, INTENTIONAL RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION TO RELATIONSHIP

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph #546) says that through his parables Jesus invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. (Mt. 22:1-14)  Words are not enough, deeds are required!  (Mt. 21:28-32)   Believing is possible only by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit. But this free choice is also an authentically human act. that is not contrary to our freedom or to human reason (Catechism, #154). After all, we choose to trust some people and what they reveal to us about themselves in order to enter a relationship with them.

AN EXPERIENCE OF NEW LIFE

Christ’s disciples have “put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.”  By “putting away falsehood,” they are to “put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.” (Ephesians 4:24-25)  This new life is made possible by Christ who unites himself to us.  He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (John 14:5)  St. Paul could claim, “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)  An essential aspect of this new life is prayer.  In the Holy Spirit, Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him. (Catechism, #2615)

A LIFE DIRECTED TOWARDS OTHERS

By loving us even to his death on the cross, Jesus manifests the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive.  He gives his disciples a new commandment: “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)  Through baptism, the disciple receives graces of the Holy Spirit called charisms which help to build up the Church, the secular order, and meet the needs of the world.  (Catechism, #799)

A LIFE OF WITNESS

The experience of a new life leads the disciple to speak to others about the treasure they have discovered in Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:44).  This has been commanded by Jesus, who his disciples, “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)  Witnessing to Jesus is necessary for salvation: “everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9)

A LIFE IN COMMUNION

Jesus formed a community of disciples around himself during his life.  He proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56)  This community continues in the Church.  In the Mass, the communion of Christ’s disciples, born from Jesus’ total self-gift for our salvation on the cross (Catechism, #766) is expressed and deepened.  Moreover, St. Paul told the Church in Corinth, “you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27

 

BECOMING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS 

Just as any human relationship takes time to develop, so too our relationship with Jesus.  And like our other relationships, there are distinct stages that mark its growth.  The descriptions below are from the book Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell.

Where are you on this journey?

Initial trust: Do you have a positive association with Jesus Christ, the Church, a Christian believer, or something identifiably Christian?  Without some kind of bridge of trust in place, we cannot move closer to God.

Spiritual curiosity: Are you intrigued by or desire to know more about Jesus, his life, and his teachings or some aspect of the Christian faith? This curiosity can range from mere awareness of a new possibility to something quite intense.

Spiritual openness: Are you open to the possibility of personal and spiritual change?  Is there a pattern of behavior you want to change, or do you have a hope that there’s more to life than you are experiencing?

Spiritual seeking: Are you actively seeking to know the God who is calling you?  Do you seek the company of Christians?  Have you been asking a Catholic friend about Mass, the Bible, or how to pray?  Seekers are asking of God, “Are you the one to whom I will give myself?” Are you wondering if you can commit to Christ in his Church.

Intentional discipleship: This is the decision to “drop one’s nets,” like Simon Peter, the fisherman at the Sea of Galilee did.  It is to make a conscious commitment to follow Jesus in the midst of his Church as an obedient disciple and to reorder one’s life accordingly.  It’s not the end of the journey at all – but a definitive new direction of one’s life