Jesus With and Within
FRIDAY, Easter week four: April 22, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm proclaims that Jesus is a Shepherd who will always be with us, because he is divine: “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you” (Psalm 2). The proof is that he rose alive from death.
Acts 13: 26-33 tells us “the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize” Jesus. They were not his sheep; if they had been, they would have known his voice. Foolishly, they thought they could get rid of him by having him put to death. But by this they simply “accomplished all that was written about him.” And then “God raised him from the dead.” He returned!
Jesus’ resurrection is the central fact to which the Church bears witness. Without the Gospel nothing can explain it, and nothing in the Gospel can be explained without it. To rise from the dead Jesus had to be divine; and because he was divine he had to rise from the dead. His resurrection was the Father’s way of reasserting: “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.” By raising Jesus the Father validated all of Jesus’ claims — to take away our sins, to give life and joy “to the full,” to give peace, the Holy Spirit and eternal life — and “has fulfilled for us what God promised to our ancestors.” Jesus is with us, shepherding forever.
John 14: 1-6 shows us that Jesus fulfilled another promise of God, and is “with us” in a way beyond our imagining: “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days… I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 10:10).
The way we need to follow, the truth we need to know, the life we need to live is within us, because Jesus is within us. At the Last Supper, when Thomas asked, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus answered: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” But he is in us; he has made us his body. Following Jesus means being Jesus, sharing in his own divine life, light and love. God has said to each of us: “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you!”
Jesus added, “I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” The truth is, we can be where Jesus is now, because where he is we are, and where we are Jesus is. He is the divine Shepherd who guides and enlivens us from within. We can consciously make him a part of everything we do by saying repeatedly, “Lord, I give you my body. Do this with me, do this in me, do this through me.” And he will.
Initiative: Be a prophet. Let Jesus act in and through everything you do.