Home › Community › Sunday Gospel Thoughts › August 1, 2021, 18th Ordinary Sunday › Reply To: August 1, 2021, 18th Ordinary Sunday
“This is God’s work, to believe in the One he sent.”
There is a big difference between believing “in” Jesus and believing “about” Jesus. Believing about Jesus is important, but its purpose is to lead us to believe in Jesus. Some folks never get beyond believing about Jesus, as is clear in the church battles going on these days. They become Jesus’ angry enforcers”. We can learn about Jesus simply by books or web sites. We come to believe in Jesus by prayer, which is not the same as saying prayers. When we think we have Jesus all figured out, that Jesus is the one we create for ourselves to make us feel comfortable and in control, and who gives us the power to judge others. Some folks like to have all the answers, and like the power they feel.
As recent popes have taught, Jesus is not a concept or an idea, Jesus is a person that we encounter. The whole purpose of the church is to lead folks to encounter Jesus in their lives. The Jesus we meet in the Gospel and in our prayer is the living reality of Gd’s love for us and all creation. Prayer leads us to meet in in our every day life.
Jesus never told his followers to pray to him or worship him. He told them to follow him, to imitate him, to live as he lived. He offers a way of living, not a lot of rules and answers. As we encounter Jesus we have many more questions than answers because we are growing to know him more in our life. When he says he is the “Bread of Life” he is saying that what he shows us about living in God is essential to our living as we are created to live — beyond our own comfort zone with and for others.
Francis is trying to move the church to believe in Jesus rather than just about Jesus. He is having an uphill battle. The nature of the institution s to protect its power by enforcing rules. Francis is focusing in letting the Spirit lead the church to question what it is to follow Jesus today.