Thursday, April 6, 2017

Do You Let Jesus be God?


“The Pharisees would not let Jesus be God,” the priest said during a homily this morning referring to the Gospel of John 8: 51-59
“Jesus said: "Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” the Pharisees responded. Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

What was wrong with those Pharisees?  Despite an abundance of miracles, even raising people from the dead, yet they persisted in their persecution of Jesus—refusing to consider that he could be the Savior.
While watching the Pharisee’s hatred of Jesus during the The Passion of the Christ movie, I wished I could have seen the look on their faces after they died and realized that Jesus, whom they persecuted, really was God. Not very Christian of me, I suppose.
But the priest’s homily was not to announce that the Pharisees were bad and we are good. Instead, he asked, do we really let Jesus be God?  Because unless we surrender to Jesus, we are not letting him be God. It means accepting even the crosses and then turning to Jesus for help carrying them.
As I meditated on the homily, I thought it’s simply hard to let God be God at all.  Suffering can feel like a betrayal because we are God’s friend after all, so why isn’t he cooperating with us.
Years ago I read a reflection on prayer and faith.  “If you pray and then worry about God’s response, then you don’t have faith. If you believe that God has every hair on your head counted, you must also trust that he has heard your prayer and will answer in the way that is best for you.”
The Blessed Mother showed us how to cooperate with God and not the other way around. She didn’t complain while going from inn to inn looking for a place to give birth. While looking for Jesus for 3 days, there was no whining Why me? Mary surrendered and trusted God to be God, regardless of her own comforts and preferences.
In my own life, and I'm guessing yours too, many times when I did not get what I asked for, I eventually realized that God's no was actually a blessing. We can look back and see the hand of God so often, giving us what we didn't think we wanted and taking away things for our own good.  By trusting and following where God takes us, the blessings come and his grace overflows and us.
I don’t want to be like a Pharisee.  I want to let God be God.  This beautiful Novena of Surrender by Father Dolindo Routolo whose cause for canonization has been opened, has been helping me to let go and let God. 
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