Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jesus, a Promise, and Decisions

Folks in America sometimes get asked, "do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?!"

I haven't been asked that for quite a while: partly, I think, because I live in a small town that's mostly Catholic; partly, I suspect, because word gets around about how I answer that sort of question.

I'm a person, my Lord is a person. I don't see how we could have anything but a "personal" relationship.

My Personal Toothbrush and Savior?!

As for accepting Jesus as my "personal savior?" My dialect of English doesn't permit a short answer.

Is Jesus my "personal" anything? Like my personal:
  • Toothbrush
  • Clothing
  • Online accounts
Certainly not. I don't own the Second Person of the Trinity in that sense. As for accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior? Yes, certainly. I can't remember a time when I didn't.

Remembering Golgotha

Was there a particular moment in my life when I 'really' became 'saved?'

I was baptized as an infant - it's a sacrament that the church my parents belonged to shares with the Catholic Church. I was 'saved' then, in the the baptismal sense of the word. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213-1274)

Since then, I've had the occasional moments when I decided that I had better get in line with what Jesus said. I've even shouted 'halleluiah' on occasion. But those weren't moments in time when I was 'saved.'

The spot in time when I was saved is about two thousand years in the past, at a place called Golgotha. That's when my Lord died, opening the gates of Heaven for me. (Catechism, 2669)

Anybody dying for my sake would be impressive. When the Son of God accepts death, rather than lose me: That's something I won't forget.

I owe my Lord: big time.

Being Saved

But am I 'really saved?' Look me up after the Final Judgment, and I'll give you a definite answer. God willing, I'll be in my Lord's kingdom.

Right now, I am a follower of Jesus. But I could, in principle, decide that God isn't important. That would be a daft decision, but I have free will: so I can chose to accept eternal life; or reject infinite depths of joy.

Since I haven't died yet, I'm still 'working out my salvation.' (Phillipians 2:12) Which doesn't mean I think I can 'work my way into Heaven.' I can't. (Catechism, 1021)

A Promise Made, a Promise Kept

Back when Egypt was a major power, God promised someone named Abram that "...all the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you." (Genesis 12:1-3)

A little while later, God followed up on that promise:
" 'But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.'1 This is 'the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God':2 God has visited his people. He has fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham and his descendants. He acted far beyond all expectation—he has sent his own 'beloved Son.'3"
(Catrechism, 422)

A Reason for Staying

Why do I think Jesus is the son of God?

For one thing, God said so. (Mark 1:11) For another, when people are killed, we stay dead. Jesus didn't. (Matthew 28:5-10)

I'm a Catholic because Jesus gave a fisherman considerable authority. (Matthew 16:17-19) That authority, handed down through a succession of popes, and a bishop, is at the parish church down the street, and connects me with Golgotha, and my Lord.

I intend to remain a Catholic, for the same reason Peter gave:
"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?'

"Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

"We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.' "
(John 6:67-69)
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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.