Getting to Know You, Getting to Know all About You
A link to the Sunday Readings
One of my favorite movie lines, comes from a movie starring John Travolta, Rene Russo, Danny Devito and Gene Hackman. There's also the bad guy of the movie, a gangster-type, whose name I can't remember. In the movie, Travolta's character is pitted against this bad guy; they have this altercation in a restaurant and the two characters exchange glances and then the bad guy says to the good, "You don't know me, you only think you do." There's a bit of irony there because at the end of the movie, the good guy gets the better of the bad guy precisely because he does know him- he knows all about him.
I have this movie scene in my mind as I reflect about our Gospel reading today. Here's Jesus with the 12; by this point in the Gospel they've been together for maybe 18 months and Jesus wants to see how well they know him. So he asks them and Peter, speaking for the group says, "You are the Messiah." And he's write. But Jesus responds, "Yeah, that's true, but there's more to me than that." Jesus then tells them, and he'll spend the next 18 months showing the disciples what it means to be the Messiah and how that means suffering and death for the salvation and redemption of the human race. And then Jesus tells them that they too will called to give their lives for the salvation and redemption of the world.
Today, Jesus asks us a question that each of must answer for ourselves: Do we know Jesus? How well do we know him and do we want to know him at a deeper level?
There is no limit to knowing Jesus: he is man; but he is also God and he is inviting you and I to know him in a deep, deep way.
Think of it this way: as we enter into relationships with people in our life, we don't know them in their totality immediately. Instead, it takes time and effort for us to really get to know the people in our life. Husbands and wives; children; colleagues, neighbors, priests and friends. It takes time and effort to get to know someone.
And Jesus's invitation for us is to really know him; to continue in getting to know him in a deeper way. Through prayer, the Eucharist, reading Scripture and spiritual books, by serving one another, especially those in need, we come to know Jesus better. And after a while, we may begin to think like him, act like him, speak like him, love, forgive and give like him. It's only a matter of time and effort- but that's what this Eucharist is all about.
Secondly, we look at our relationships with the people in our life. How well do we know them? Do we want to know them in a deeper and holier way? Sometimes things like hurt and resentment, time and stress, can put distance between us and the people we love, even the people that we live with. This week, Jesus invites us to get to know them again, for the first, and better. Perhaps we need to rediscover our spouse; or a sibling; or a child. Ask the Lord to lead you on a journey rediscover and come to know again the people that you care most about, especially those to whom you feel farthest from.
Be not afraid, this week, my friends of coming to know Jesus and the people in our life in a deeper way. Knowing or rediscovering the people in our life makes life beautiful and our crosses easier to bear. Coming to know Jesus in a deeper way makes life beautiful and prepares us for an eternity with him where there are no Crosses, only empty tombs.