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Christ_Pantokrator,_Cathedral_of_Cefalù,_Sicily (2)

Christ Pantokrator
Cathedral of Cefalù, Sicily

During Advent we embarked on a journey toward Bethlehem to find the Christ child. Along the way, we discovered the importance of encountering Jesus personally, and making Jesus the center of our marriages and the center of our families. Finally, we discovered that this journey prepared us for the mission of taking Jesus into our neighborhoods and the world.

Practically speaking, what actions should we be taking to personally encounter Jesus so that we may be equipped to share Him with others?

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1-2

The best way we have found to meet Jesus personally is in the daily reading of Scripture. Start by reading the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Is the Jesus we encounter in the Gospels the beloved Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, a powerful teacher, a healer, and the Savior of the world? Jesus is the Son of God and through Him, we learn who God the Father is. Jesus teaches us in the Gospels how to live holy and fruitful lives. He demonstrates what it means to be obedient to God the Father in all our thoughts, words, and deeds.

My God, how great you are, how wonderful in all your works! Teach me your will that I may begin and end all my actions for your greater glory. St. John Neumann, first American Bishop to be canonized by the Catholic Church

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!” declared St. Jerome, a father and Doctor of the Church from the 5th century. To know Jesus, we must meet him in the Gospels. In reading Scripture, we come to know him personally.

Intimacy with the Lord is not a matter of physical kinship; rather, it is achieved by cheerful readiness to do the will of God. St. Basil the Great, Father of Eastern monasticism

As we read about Jesus in the Scriptures, we will begin to be conformed more closely to His likeness in our marriages and families. At the Transfiguration, God spoke these words about Jesus…

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17:5

At the Wedding Feast at Cana, Mary spoke these words about her son…

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5

It is in listening to and following the commands of Jesus that our relationships will be transformed and renewed.

O Jesus, sure joy of my soul, give me but a true love of you. Let me seek you as my only good. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church

We live in a broken and fallen world. Jesus is the answer to every problem that we face in our families and our society. Souls are at stake. God is asking families to take to the lead in bringing the Gospel message to the world. You are the hands and feet of Jesus. Proclaim the Gospel boldly and without fear. God is with you. Jesus says…

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Meet Jesus in the Scriptures and your life will never be the same. For Jesus said, “‘Follow me’” (Jn 1:43). He is the path of life.

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, §1