Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jesus and You

You may be the only Jesus some people ever meet. It's not a new concept. St. Paul gave us the metaphor of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-14) and there have always been those who have seen that as a very literal calling. I am among them.

I think that is the whole point of the gift of the Holy Spirit, especially as it is so intimately described in the Gospel of John when Jesus literally breathes onto his disciples. (John 20:22). In receiving that gift we accept both the privilege and the responsibility of becoming the body of Jesus in and for the world. Jesus has already told his disciples in John 13:20, "Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me."

Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun living in Spain in the 16th century, famously put the concept this way:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

I think God cares more about whether our actions truly reflect Jesus than whether we give intellectual assent to certain doctrines or profess some set of magic words.

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