Sunday, January 23, 2011

Drawn to Jesus

Have you ever met someone with such a strong personality that you immediately felt drawn to him or her? When such people enter a room, all eyes turn to them. Everyone jockeys to be at their elbow to bask in their charisma. Such people inevitably draw others to them because of their wit and charms.

No doubt, Jesus was just such a person. He stood out. Whenever he spoke, a crowd would gather. He could fill a room merely by walking into it. Jesus never had any trouble getting attention.

We see an instance of Jesus’ commanding presence in today’s gospel - the call of the first disciples. His first followers were fisherman. Growing up along the banks of the Sea of Galilee, they would have known no other life. Chances are they worked hard and saved to buy or build their own boats. At the time Jesus called them, they would have had much equity tied up in their profession. Yet they are willing to abandon it all in what seems a whim - to follow an itinerant rabbi with no visible means of support and no home to call his own. It was at no small cost to them, financially and personally. But the magnetism of the man was powerful. They could not risk losing the opportunity to befriend him.

As a Church charged with keeping alive the memory and ministry of the God-Man of Nazareth, we must reflect this magnetism of Jesus. The more we are like him, the more we will draw people into the Church. This is good news! However, to reflect the light of Christ, we must repent. We must strip ourselves of all the trappings of worldly life - the hoarding of wealth, the ambition for status and the abuse of power. When those marks of a worldly life appear in the believing community, it repels sincere seekers of the truth. It tells them that they should be looking elsewhere for the Jesus of the Gospels. But when we are humble, generous and self-effacing, the face of Christ becomes evident among us and the spiritual magnetism of Jesus leads others to learn from us who have sat at the feet of the Master.

And so, the most effective way to revitalize the Church is for each of her members - beginning with me - to live the gospel message in a radical way through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then our churches will not be begin enough to contain all the worshippers drawn to them.

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