These are nice and consoling words which stimulate many people to feel drawn to Jesus and to follow Jesus. In the beginning of His public life, Jesus preformed many miracles and many healings. But later Jesus began, with His example and then with His words, to lead people freely toward the much more precious gifts, toward true freedom from our egoism and from our slothfulness. Everyone wants miracles and healings, but to obtain the more profound and lasting freedom, there is no other way except toward Jerusalem, toward Calvary with Jesus.
When Jesus began to explain this true way toward Calvary, even the apostles were amazed (Mk 10:24) and astonished (Mk 10:26). So many were expecting an easier life with the coming of the Messiah, but instead Jesus said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them…” (Mt 5:17). Not only “you shall not kill … but I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement.” Not only “You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:17-37). In the beginning of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus multiplied the bread and the fish and the people wanted to make Him king; but at the end of the same chapter when Jesus declared the necessity to eat His flesh and to drink His blood, many of His disciples drew back and no longer went about with Him!
Jesus never accepted compromises as many people in the Church want to do today. We live in a world that is further away from God and His 10 Commandments than ever before in the history of the world. Many religious leaders offer compromises or approve the excuses of not wanting to follow or to live the difficult parts of the Gospel, instead of offering a good holy example, and then offering good words, with much prayer and self-sacrifice, drawing strong help from the sacraments and from prayer, above all before the infinite God Who hides in the Eucharist. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk 9:42). I do not believe it was by chance that during the period when so many lay people, priests and bishops rebelled against the Encyclical Letter, Humanae Vitae (1968), by Pope Paul VI, that Saint Michael the Archangel at Garabandal (Spain, 1965) said: “Many Cardinal, many Bishops and many Priests are on the road to perdition and with them they are bring many souls”!
Jesus is very demanding but Jesus is able to offer that which the other founders of other religions are not able to offer: the necessary help to be able to fully live the Gospel and also the reward of eternal life.
Many people are in love with the consolations of God but not with the God of consolations! But without the cross accepted and embraced, there will not be the crown of glory. There is no resurrection without the crucifixion; there is no Easter without Good Friday!
Jesus died naked and humiliated on the cross, as a total failure in the eyes of the world! How many of us are ready not only to suffer with Jesus but also to loose our good name, our prestige, our honor and privileges in the Church and in the civil world before everyone as did Jesus in order to live and proclaim the uncomfortable truth which makes us truly free (Jn 8:32)?
- - - - - - -
An Experience of Life:
I have lived thirty years in the name of drugs, sex and disposable deviance. I was born without being desired living in an environment marked by difficult events that unleashed quarrels and misunderstandings. What finally broke my delicate dreams of a girl was an act of violence suffered at the age of 12 years. In this way it started my unstoppable descent into hell beginning with taking drugs so as not to feel the pain. No one noticed anything.
Apparently everything was going well, but slowly I was dying loosing the will to live. I built an impregnable fortress around my heart. Grief and anger grew in me, so much need of love turned into pride and presumption. My only companion was heroine. Then cocaine in an escalation of power and money in real estate. I was ready to do anything for money and consideration . But at what price? At the price of using people and then to throw them away when I did not need them any more. I did not know any limits, but the emptiness inside was corroding me. I felt more and more terribly alone. Five times I tried to call it quits, but I did not succeed. Why? I asked myself. Why had I not yet discovered that Someone had thought about me from all eternity, and loved me to the point of giving Himself up for me.
I met a reality involved in street evangelization. I decided to join in the community where I found a real family who accompanied me step by step in a rehabilitation program based on the Gospel. From that moment my life changed: I came to know the infinite love of God through the brothers and sisters who welcomed me with my cry of pain and loneliness.
Gradually it became all about the Resurrection, in the experience of joy and forgiveness, in the ability to freely offer again my existence to those who are still imprisoned in the death of the soul testifying that Love can do miracles because God is Love! Jesus descended into my hell and transfigured it with His immense Love. I want to spend every moment of my life to be the instrument of the joy of the Resurrection!
Angela Cross, New Horizons Community
Testimony - Pentecost, 2013, St. Peter's Square