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By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/28/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

God has revealed Himself to us. He is not hidden.

Jesus is the One in whom all the promises of God find their fulfillment and response. He is the answer to every human question, the fulfillment of every authentic human need, the balm of healing for every human wound, the satisfaction of every authentic human desire, and the way to authentic human freedom and flourishing.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/28/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Evangelism, salvation, Good News, Yes, happiness, faith, encounter, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Deacon Keith Fournier


Who Do You Say That I Am?  Jesus is the Yes of God and We Are Invite to Say Yes to Him

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The Gospel I proclaim at Mass today is taken from St. Luke, "Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'" Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said in reply, "The Christ of God." (Lk 9:18-22).

The same question is asked of each of us and how we answer determines who we will become and how we will live.

There is another biblical text I would like to share. It is taken from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians,  "Brothers and sisters: As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not "yes" and "no, " but "yes" has been in him."
 
"For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment" (2 Corinthians 1:18-22)

As a Deacon of the Church I go from the ambo to the altar and into the street - into a world filled with disappointment and pain. In those streets - and in that world - I have the privilege of giving to others what has been freely given to me, the great gift of God, His "Yes" in and through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the One in whom all the promises of God find their fulfillment and response. He is the answer to every human question, the fulfillment of every authentic human need, the balm of healing for every human wound, the satisfaction of every authentic human desire, and the way to authentic human freedom and flourishing.

One of the obstacles I find in giving Him to others is a wall often built around human hearts and minds. There are many misconceptions about religious faith. So often in ministry, one finds oneself not being asked to actually respond to someone's heartfelt hunger for God, but rather, being subjected to automatic replay messages from the past.

The word "Gospel" literally means "Good News". There is Good News! God has revealed Himself to us. He is not hidden. The word "revelation" literally means to "unveil", to make known. This is what occurred, is occurring, and will occur in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Self-Revelation of God.

This God who fashioned the Universe is not simply a principle to be reflected upon, leading us to a set of propositions. He has been manifested, unveiled to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is in receiving this Divine Self-manifestation, hearing this "Yes" and believing, that we find the very meaning of our own lives as we enter into the life of faith.

As a young man, I began the practice of law, a profession that provided a backdrop for decades of my life. I was an assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Steubenville Ohio. The Chief prosecutor, my "boss" was a truly good man, in search of life's deeper meaning. He was also a non-practicing Jew who had lost touch with the great faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet, his upbringing had planted a hunger for God in him.

There was no pretense in this man. He was often misunderstood by others. His professional competence, though quite effective, led to his developing an external air that others often misread as haughty. I knew better. One morning, right before I was to appear in Court, I walked in on my friend in a sad and vulnerable moment.

Circumstances in his personal life had left him with no more wind in his sails. He was depressed and groping for a rudder. I empathized with Him and listened as he unpacked his pain. At the end of this precious moment, this meeting of persons, he looked right into my eyes and shared words that I will never forget:

"Keith, if I were ever to believe as you do, God would have to become a human being, a person, as real as you are sitting in front of me." I responded, "He has done just that my friend". I then proceeded to share with him God's "Yes", Jesus Christ. That experience deepened my lifelong passion to be able to give God's "Yes" to others.

That is what St. Paul is saying in the passage with which I began this article. He is addressing very real people in the church at Corinth like you and me. They were struggling to keep their faith alive in a culture that militated against its claims. Sound familiar? They were also at odds with one another in a nascent Christian community beset with discord. 

He kept his message wonderfully simple, reminding them that in Jesus Christ they could find the Father's "Yes" to the deepest longing of their hearts -that in and through Jesus Christ, they were also called to give themselves back to God, and, in so doing, they became the bearers of the Gospel for others. That was the message that I shared with my friend. That is our message to the world of our own age.

This holy exchange, where God gives Himself to us and we reciprocate by giving ourselves to Him, forms the foundation of all of the wonderful letters of St. Paul. He understood it well because he lived it. That's right; He lived in the "Yes", the holy exchange, and was being transformed in its fire.

In Jesus Christ we hear and see the "Yes" of God to our deepest human need and aspiration. Our "Yes" in response to His Yes, can lead us into a dynamic new way of living.

---


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