Friday, January 6, 2017

If You Want To Know Jesus, Listen To Your Heart

January 7, 2017 (feast of Saint Raymond of Penafort)
Saturday before the Epiphany

If You Want To Know Jesus, Listen To Your Heart

Responsorial Psalm, “The Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149).

The theme of 1John 5: 14-21 is, “We have this confidence in God: that he hears us whenever we ask for anything according to his will.”

What we know is “according to his will” is that we should all be saved and that “life will be given to the sinner.” This we can pray for with total assurance. “We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God [Jesus] protects them, and the evil one does not touch them.” How does this match our experience?

John says he is not talking about “deadly” or “mortal” sin. It is possible for us to turn away from Christ, to reject the life of God within us and choose to be evil. God leaves us free to do this.

But mortal sin is not our day-to-day experience, any more than mortal illness is. We don’t keep dying and coming back to life, either physically or spiritually. People who really are in mortal sin are dead, and the life of God is not in them. And because they are dead, they don’t miss it. They don’t have enough love for God to notice or regret his absence. They are too blind to even know they are in the dark. That is why our conscious experiences of recognizing sin are also experiences of grace! We cannot look down on something unless in some way we have risen above it. When we feel bad about our sins, it means God is within us making us feel good about God’s ideals, God’s principles and goals. Then “we know that the Son of God… has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true.” This tells us we are in him who is true… Jesus Christ.” If we don’t take delight in sin, we can trust that “The Lord takes delight in [us as in] his people.

John 2: 1-12 gives us a preview of the “wedding banquet of the Lamb” to which Jesus came to invite us. The water he changed into wine came to about 135 gallons! Imagine what this did to a little country wedding where there could not have been more than a hundred people! In this way he “revealed his glory.” Jesus was showing us how “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” transforms life on this earth. When his disciples saw what those 135 gallons of super wine did to that party, the Gospel says, they “believed in him!”

If we let Jesus pour his “new wine” into our hearts (Matthew 9:17; Acts 2:13), we will believe in him too — in a very excited way. Until we experience this, we have no idea how much “The Lord takes delight in his people” and how much delight we can find in him.

Initiative: If you want to know Jesus, listen to your heart. Don’t judge yourself just by your actions, but also by the way you feel about your actions.

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