Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus
Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1
Jesus is God in the flesh. The crowds that were attracted by his preaching and cures did not see God in the flesh. They saw a man who could be a prophet sent by God, but maybe not. Did Jesus have some obvious flaws that caused these doubts? He ate with tax collectors and sinners. His closest disciples were rough uneducated Galilean fishermen. He had a disturbing attitude toward the accepted traditions of Judaism. Moreover he seemed so ordinary, just fitting in with people in a gentle humble way. So they asked for a SIGN so unmistakable and spectacular that all doubts will be swept away.
The Church is the body of Christ in the world. Billions of people know about the Church from the attention given by the media one of its leaders, the pope. The witness of the early Church is the most published book in the world, the New Testament. Billions of people have heard the good news: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (Jn 3:16) Yet, as with Jesus 2000 years ago, people wonder, is this true? Even some who grew up with this message, received from their parents and lived as a child, have walked away. The most recent survey of people in the United States reports that to the question: what is your religious faith? Twenty percent answer, "None". The body of Christ, the Church, like Jesus 2000 years ago, is hard to accept for what it really is. Jesus was not at fault for the lack of faith that he encountered, but how about us? Do we live our faith in such a way that people that people can recognize Christ within us?
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.