In this reflection I consider ways in which we lose Jesus in our world.
The world’s way is commonly NOT God’s way. Consider the following…
Results, Process and Effort
The world focuses on results. Have you ever had a boss who said, “Get to the goal, I don’t care how you get there”. Well it’s critical to know that Jesus cares a lot about how we achieve our goals. If integrity and honesty is compromised in the process, in God’s eyes we have failed irrespective of the results. Jesus values our efforts. The world typically sees efforts that don’t produce results as a waste of time. Jesus sees differently. “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 “…let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Revelation 22: 11-12 When our pursuit of success is all about the results and not about the integrity and honesty and righteousness of our efforts then we have lost Jesus.
Power and Weakness; Arrogance and Humility
World celebrities are often powerful and the strong. Yet the greatest works of God are done by the weak. Jesus said to St. Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) St. Faustina wrote, “God usually chooses the weakest and simplest souls as tools for His greatest works…for it is just in this way that God’s works are revealed for what they are, the works of God.” (Diary 464)
So if in weakness God’s power is made perfect, perhaps it is because the stronger we get, the more invincible we feel and the less we think we need God. God values humility not arrogance and often it is in weakness that we find greater humility. We lose Jesus when we stop needing His help. When we become arrogant enough to feel self-sufficient, we need to turn back to God.
Pleasure and Suffering
The world promotes pleasure, fun and personal fulfillment. God honors denial, sacrifice and suffering for his sake. This doesn’t mean we can’t have pleasure, for God gives joy that endures. If God will participate in our pleasure, then we can enjoy. But if we are involved in something that Jesus will not participate in, then we have lost Jesus and must reconsider our choices. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the CROWN OF LIFE that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Jesus told St. Faustina, “There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them.” (Diary 324)
Vengeance and Mercy – War and Peace
The world pursues violence, vengeance and war as appropriate pathways to peace and justice, but God desires prayer, mercy and reconciliation as pathways to peace and justice. Politicians may try to convince people that we must kill our enemies before they kill us. In their diplomatic language they call this a “preemptive strike”. God gives us the commandment “Do not kill”. Jesus tells us to “Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) NOT kill them. God reminds us that we are to “Turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
The world fights with guns and amasses nuclear arsenals. God tells us to fight with prayer and sacrifice. Satan takes souls in a continuous battle where one evil deed leads to another and another. What if we could respond with mercy to an act of violence, would the violence escalate? Would that be unjust? “Vengeance belongs to me, says the Lord.” (Hebrews 10:30)
Money and God
The world values money but God appreciates charity and tells us to give to the poor “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24). Jesus tells us “do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6: 19-21) We lose Jesus when our hearts are on not on the things that are important to God.
External Beauty and Inner Beauty
The world focuses on external beauty but God sees the beauty in the soul. The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) We lose Jesus when we do not see through His compassionate, wise eyes.
Sin, Sex and Love – Casual and Serious Attitudes
The world has become casual about sin, casual about sex and casual about love. I have heard both men and women calling themselves “players”, “bad boys” or “bad girls” as they chuckle and smile. We need to pray for them! Some men and women flaunt their “swinger” lifestyle. They consider their open sexual relationships as reasonable adult choices. We need to pray for them!
Prostitution in many countries has being legalized and I read that there are some places where a new business model is emerging: no fee required for an encounter with a prostitute, instead you must consent to be videotaped for broadcast on “adult TV”! Did you know that most prostitutes become prostitutes as children around the age of 13. Huge numbers of these women were victims of sexual abuse as children. Many are victims of human trafficking. Now if there were no market for these women, they would be unemployed, but the sad reality is there are plenty of men ready to pay for sex. We need to pray for them!
Men and women can be casual about sin, sex and love, but God is VERY serious about sin, sex and love.
St. Paul reminds us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8
Friends of Jesus –
We have a big problem in the world! Many people have lost Jesus. Let’s not be deceived, sin is serious and we will be judged. Let’s trust in Jesus and follow His teachings! Let’s pray for one another. If you have lost Jesus, know that He wants you back! Mercy is God’s best quality! Receive the Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist. Jesus is waiting for you to come back to Him!