Thursday - September 24
It is not enough to know about Jesus; we must get to know Jesus personally. How do you tell if a person knows about Jesus, or really knows Jesus personally? Ask them who Jesus is to them? You’ll get one of two answers. Those who know about Jesus will tell you the facts about Him: sent by the Father to save us, Word made Flesh, born of Mary, crucified, died, buried, and resurrected from the dead, etc. But those who know Jesus personally will talk about Him in terms of their relationship with Him: loves me, forgives me, gave me a mission in life, etc.
It is not enough to know about Jesus; we must get to know Jesus personally.
This statement was true for those followers from Tuesday’s Gospel who Jesus said listened to the Word of God and acted on it. Jesus related to them as His family, calling them his mother and brothers. But this statement was also true for Herod in today’s Gospel, who wasn’t satisfied with the descriptions of Jesus provided by those who had already encountered Jesus through His teaching and preaching.
Notice how the description of what others say about Jesus, is the same as Peter’s response to Jesus when asked the famous question, “Who do people say that I am?” Jesus was different, to say the least. But the observers of that day could only relate to Him based on what their knowledge of the prophets of their Jewish faith, or perhaps their experience with John the Baptist, the Prophet who lived in their time.
I had a conversation with a friend recently about our new Family Faith Formation program. They were somewhat dismayed that we were not using the same curriculum that has been used in past years. The impression I got was they feared that the new curriculum didn’t have enough depth, so to speak, to adequately catechize their child. And looking from an intellectual perspective, I could understand their concern. However, I tried to explain that our Family Faith Formation program is focusing on two things in particular: family participation, and building a relationship with Jesus instead of just learning about Jesus. Certainly , we need to teach our children the whole truth, which is contained in the teachings of the Catholic faith. But that truth can only take root when it is nurtured by an on-going relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Herod hears about Jesus, and is perplexed. We know He is fearful of Jesus. Jesus represents a threat to his power and control over the people. But even Herod wanted to experience Jesus personally, as we hear today, “And he kept trying to see him.”
It is good that we want to know about Jesus, that we are curious about Jesus. But Jesus wants us to be part of His family. He wants that deep loving relationship with us. To the extent we experience Jesus as our God and as our brother, in a personal relationship, is the extent that we will act on what He teaches us.
Today, let us reflect on our response to the question, “Who is Jesus to me?”
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection:
How do I answer the question, who is Jesus to me?