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Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

 

Introduction

            Being a disciple of Jesus is not a static, but rather, it is a line: I begin, I continue, and I progress. Being a disciple of Jesus, I should meet Him in a journey. A journey where I have to dialogue with Him through my experience. For this reason, I wish to focus on how my faith was built 32 years ago. So many understandings, opinions, thoughts, and explanations influence my mind to identify who Jesus is. Is he just the person who shows me the way going to heaven? 

 

 Is he just the person who becomes the hero 2000 years ago by his sacrifice? Is he just the person who teaches me how to love God and neighbors, even the enemies?. No. My professor in Christology challenges me to meet Jesus personally. At the beginning, this process is too hard for me. Why? Because I feel comfortable with my understanding of Him. In my understanding, I have found already that Jesus is the Son of Man, Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is the Messiah, and Jesus is the Lord. As A young theologian, I search it for long time ago, especially when I was in theology. Now, I should meet Him again and dialogue with Him. Yes, I am ready to meet Him. This meeting encourages me to become a good partner in dialogue.

            This reflection paper will be built in three parts by methodology of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, namely, See – Judge (Discern) – Act. I was attracted by his most famous quote, “we are always at the beginning.” This quotation relates with my reflection in which I try  first time to meet Jesus again. In the part one, I look at my experience and my understanding regarding Jesus.  In the part two, I represent the image of Jesus and his mission according to Culture and Scripture. And in the last part, I emphasize the matters which help me to develop my understanding to become the disciple of Jesus in the present day.  Finally, I close this paper by conclusion, what did I get during this course and what is my vision about my master, Jesus from Nazareth?

    

  1. 1.     See

            My journey to meet Jesus is started when my professor told the student to write down the creed by our own. This is my personal creed, I believe in a mystical being whom I call God. The maker of all things and nurture of the world. I believe in Jesus Christ who is God in flesh, who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and died on the cross as a sacrifice of sin. On the third day he rose from the grave and defeated death. He then ascended into heaven.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of man, Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is the Messiah, and Jesus is the Lord. I believe His spirit descended to earth. The spirit abides in and guides all who have come to experience Jesus as their savior. Through the spirit one receive gifting to minister and live in the current world. In your big hand Lord, I profess my faith. Amen. It is my personal creed. After that, in group 6th,  I have shared it. I was aware that my personal creed was coming out just from my mind – my memory. It is not really from my experience. It was just from my knowledge. Its creed taught by professor when I was in minor seminary and major seminary. So, I realized that I was a good imitator. But, lacking something important, namely, experience of faith itself. Because of this experience, I encourage myself to reconstruct my understanding regarding of this issue.

First time to meet Jesus again as the door to reconstruct my understanding. When I was first time to meet Him, I was really shy. Why? Because I met Him as if I knew Him, in fact, I didn’t know Him well. Actually, I failed in my understanding. When I was in theology, knowing Jesus means if I could explain everything clearly and exactly. Is it a a true way to understand? No. My answer is No.  Why? Because I just know Jesus by the words of my professor. I call myself like  “a parrot bird”, so I can call my Christology by this name, namely,  “The Parrot Bird Christology.” It means just  memorize  from A-Z or Z-A. I just  read, read and read, but actually I don’t understand. Honestly, I must admit it. That is why this course which encourage me to meet Jesus again as a good opportunity to reconstruct my understanding. At least, I am brave to throw out “my stone age” understanding which makes me experiencing so many misunderstandings.

In this journey, sometimes I am be confused by my professor. But, I should be brave to continue this journey. Little by little I enjoy my journey. I enjoy to see and to meet again the experience of the Jesus’ disciples, I am passion to interpret the life of Jesus and I challenge to reconstruct my understanding. I see that the person who I call Jesus is a very simple, genuine and fantastic person. One of the best question I remember from Him is “what do you say, who I am?.” This question challenges me how to discern Him more and more and continuing to find the answer who is He?  

  1. 2.      Discern

            For long time, even until now, Jesus is popularly seen as divine savior. The divine savior image is everywhere in the Christian world. It is also dominant in Filipino religious thinking and practice  (including in my country in Indonesia).  Five images are very popular, namely, Jesus as the son of God and Son of Mary, Jesus as Host, Jesus as Suffering Servant, Jesus as Christ the King, and Jesus, the Miracle worker. (cf. Wostyn, Lode. Believing Unto Discipleship: Jesus of Nazareth. Quezon City: Claretian Publication, 2004, pp. 6-8). I try to see it one by one, then other question coming out from my searching, do I just see Jesus as Son of God, or host, or suffering servant, or Christ the King, or miracle worker?. I think, it is not enough. So, I must go deeper to see Jesus in the Scripture.

My encountering with Him in the Scripture helps me to see His ministry. He presents as healer (cf. Mk 1:29-37), Teacher (cf. Mt 5:1 – 7:29), the Community Founder (cf. Mk 1:14-20; Mk 3:13-19), and Political Prophet (cf. Mt 20:20-28; Mk 11: 1-11). More than that His preaching about the Kingdom of God as the point that this person is really great. Jesus really lived with a very different kind of priorities, such as service, solidarity, humility, sharing, solidarity, compassion, and commitment to liberation. So, historically, Jesus has been a very interesting person. ( cf. Wostyn, Lode. Believing Unto Discipleship: Jesus of Nazareth. Quezon City: Claretian Publication, 2004, p. 175). We can see from the beginning of  His ministry, He concerns to the poor, oppressed, marginalized showing that he came to bring the liberation (cf. Lk 4: 18-19). That is why this message made the elite got angry  at the time. Because of this reason, He was killed by the elite. But His spirit is still alive in every person who struggle for the poor, oppressed and marginalized. His spirit is was alive in the life of Oscar Romero. He said, “If they kill me, I will raise in the Salvadorian people.”  Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino,Jr, in a 500 – peso bill is written his spirit, “the Filipino is worth dying for.”

And his spirit is still alive the people who do commit for liberation, solidarity and mutual understanding.

Gustavo Gutierrez, a Latin American Theologian wrote, “God is God of life, the one who confronts the idol of death – greed corruption, oppression and violence – and liberates us to enter the fullness of life. The God of the bible is the defender of the poor who enters into a relationship of loving commitment with all people. Where do we find God? In the life of faithful solidarity and witness of life.” (cf. Wostyn, Lode. Believing Unto Discipleship: Jesus of Nazareth. Quezon City: Claretian Publication, 2004, p. 176). I am be the one to do it. It happened after my encountering with Him.

 

  1. 3.      Act

            St. Paul says, “The Kingdom of God is not matter of food or drink; it is justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (cf. Rm 14:17).  In the gospel of Mark is written, “The time has come; the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (cf. Mk 1:15). Then, St. John says, “My dear children, let us love not only with words and with our lips, but in truth and in deed.” (cf. 1 John 3:18).  Three of these messages remind me to live according to the values of the Kingdom of God in daily life. And St. Gregory of Nyssa said, “The life of a Christian has three distinguished aspects: deeds, words and thought. We must make sure that all our thoughts, words and deeds are controlled by the divine ideal, the revelation of  Christ.” (cf. Guillen, Fernando. Vocation, Consecration, Formation, Doing Discernment. Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2009, p. 81). It helps me what does it means to be the disciple of Jesus?. Two points to develop my journey to be the disciple of Jesus:

            First, Commitment. After showing the last power point, I said to myself, “I am the Christian – I am the disciple of Jesus. I give my life to God like Jesus. Nothing and no one will ever take that away from me.” I has learned from Jesus, my master from Nazareth that to be his follower is not only as a nice guy, or just following a set of rules, of dogmas and regulations, or trying to escape the difficult realities of life and giving all to Jesus as our ransom. No. But I must witness what Jesus did. He was sent by His father to show God’s love and liberation for the poor, oppressed and marginalized because of poverty, sickness, power and social issues. Meaning to say, I must be sensitive with the needs of my neighbors.

            Second, Kenosis. I was surprise, when the professor told about Edward Schillebeeckx. After this theologian wrote a book around 1000 pages, He said, “I’m sorry I don’t know God. But to know God, we must practice the life of Jesus and go deeper in humanity, there we can see the image of God.” The idea of “kenosis” is the best point I got from this course. This word is very meaningful. This word encourages me to continue my journey. As I mention above that being a disciple of Jesus is not a static, but rather, it is a line: I begin, I continue, and I progress. If I want to know God deeper, I must see it in humanity, even in the practice of love as well. St. John says, “If you say, “I love God,” while you hate your brother or sister, you are a liar. How can you love God who you do not see, if you do not love your brother whom you see?.” (cf. 1 John 4:20). To practice it, I must learn from the Samaritan woman. She saw God and she went to tell others because she found her new life – new perspective (cf. John 4: 1-42).

Conclusion

            First of all, I would like to say “thank you” because I can meet Jesus  again. He is my friend and my master whom has changed my life. In this encountering, I do not meet Jesus the idea, or Jesus feeling, or Jesus religion, or Jesus the belief, or Jesus the concept. But, I meet Jesus the person who enjoys in His life, Jesus who is fully human and fully alive. He is really my master in the journey of my discipleship.

            My duty now is how to do as He did. He went about doing good. He did not stop his works of charity because the people hated him or tried him to kill him. He just went about doing good. His voice is still alive – He still says for me and for the world, “I was hungry – not only for food, but for peace that come from a pure heart; I was thirsty – not for water, but for peace that satiates the passionate thirst of passion for war; I was naked – not for clothes, but for the beautiful dignity of men and women for their bodies; I was homeless – not for shelter made of bricks, but for a heart that understands, that covers, that loves.” (Cf. Matthew 25: 31:47. Teresa, Mother. Total Surrender. Michigan: Servant Publication, 1985, pp. 150-151).