24th Sunday in Ordinary Time           

            In his book The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey talks about his personal study of the life of Jesus. According to Yancey, one impression about Jesus that strikes him more forcefully than any other is how Jesus “has been tamed.” His knowledge of God before – more accurately, the God that was made known to him was Someone serious, strict, stern, frowning, and even fierce. But, his deep desire to know the Lord more personally led him to discover the Jesus who is sweet, warm, gentle, and kind. This is what he means by “Jesus being tamed.”

            How did you come to know the Lord Jesus? Can you honestly say that you know him well? Who is Jesus to you or for you personally? Jesus’ question to his disciples in today gospel reading is also addressed to each one of us: “Who do you say that I am?” “Who do I say Jesus is? Who is Jesus to me?” This question demands a personal answer – an answer that comes from one’s personal, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus. This can be a very difficult question if one is not familiar with Jesus every day, if one does not spend time to be with him, if one does not communicate with him regularly.

            Those, however, who have a personal relationship with Jesus, those who spend enough time with him in prayer, those who communicate with him every single day, those who make him as their one and only priority, those who read the Gospels to know him better, those who strive to share in his life and mission, those who commit themselves to work for him, those who participate in the ministries of the Church, would most likely find the question easier to answer.

            “Who do I say Jesus is? Who is Jesus to me?” This question is actually an invitation for us to have a deeper personal relationship with Jesus. Our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus must be deep and intimate enough   for us to be able to give a personal answer to a personal question of Jesus: “Who do you say that I am?”

            Perhaps, we can say that most of us know much about Jesus. We know a lot of things about Jesus. However, to know things about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. Unless our knowledge of Jesus is translated into gospel values, authentic Christian living and self-giving deeds, we really do not know the Lord Jesus yet.

            If we really consider Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” we cannot put him inside the cabinet and just take him out when it is convenient for us to do so. We cannot confine him in just one area of our life or restrict his influence in just one aspect of it. We must allow him to be the Lord of our whole life. We cannot allocate just one hour a week for him and spend the rest of our time to our projects and interests. We must devote every moment of our life to him. We cannot give him just half of our heart, our mind, and strength and the other half to our other concerns and preoccupations. We must give our whole selves to him.

            Knowing Jesus should transform our way of life! It should change the way we pray to God – that is, to pray the way Jesus taught us to pray. It should change the way we respond, react, or behave – that is, to ask “What would Jesus do in this situation?” It should change the way we approach our work or job – that is, to make it as our participation in Christ’s saving work. It should change the way we deal with our pains and sufferings – that is, to accept them as our own cross we carry for Jesus. It should change the way we relate to one another and the way we treat others, especially those we do not like – that is, to let compassion and mercy always prevail in our relationships with and conduct toward others.

            Jesus invites all of us to come to know him in prayer. The Lord has already worked wonders in our lives, yet, in his generosity, he wants to give us much more. In prayer, we realize the great things Jesus has done for us; therefore, our hearts are filled with gratitude and joy. In prayer, we come to know Jesus as the Master of our life; therefore, we are assured that he has a plan for each of us. In prayer, we allow Jesus to empower and inspire us; therefore, we become effective ministers of the Gospel.

            So, the critical thing is not how much I know about Jesus, but how do I live what I know of Jesus. How do I really get Jesus involved in my life? Again, knowing Jesus should transform our way of life.

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