Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
What kind of man was Jesus that rough, rugged fishermen would drop their nets and follow him?
He was the son of a carpenter, strong, robust, and capable of walking great distances. He loved nature and often spoke about the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, sheep and goats, wheat and weeds, fish and trees, and the vine and branches.
He was capable of anger, as when he drove out the merchants in the temple. He could be gentle, as when the people brought up their children to see him. St. Mark tells us, "He embraced them and blessed them." (Mark 10:16)
He was a teacher and a storyteller. He must have liked parties, for his enemies accused him of being a wine-drinker and a gluttonous person. (cf. Matthew 11:19)
He experienced disappointment when he cured ten lepers and only one returned to express thanks. He felt deep sorrow when he wept at the death of his friend Lazarus.
He experienced frustration. "Philip, how long have I been with you and still you do not know me." (John 14:8).
Hanging on the cross in his hour of need, he was deeply saddened that his closest friends were not there with him. One betrayed him, another denied him. The others scattered. Yet, not thinking of himself, as a good son his heart was centered on his mother, entrusting her to the one loyal apostle, John.
In today’s gospel passage, which is the ending of John’s gospel, the evangelist tells us that he left unrecorded "many other things that Jesus did." The four gospels record a lot of Jesus’ words and actions. We have to fill in the picture on how he felt, what emotions he experienced. So that, when we turn to him in prayer, we will know that our God is an understanding God. He knows what we are going through. He has been here before us.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.