Jesus, Personalized

Today’s homily, translated into English for your convenience, and presented here for those who might be interested:

The residents of Jesus’ homeland had certain expectations for him and for how a Messiah should be. But Christ did not comply with their expectations. Thus, as today’s gospel tells us, they declined to believe in him [this is how the Spanish translation puts it]. Other translations of the Bible [such as the U.S. one] say that they took offense at him. In any case, they did not accept him.

What are our expectations for the Lord? What do we look for from him? Reflecting on this gospel and asking ourselves these questions we must be careful, because there is a trap that is rather common, and we run the risk of falling into it. Often there is a temptation in the spiritual life to create a “personal Jesus” who meets our personal expectations but who, nevertheless, does not correspond with the true and living Christ. The Jesus whom we create might be a Christ who does not demand much. He could be a Christ who never puts us to the test. He could be a Christ who turns a blind eye to certain sins – as if they weren’t sins. In short, he could be a Christ without a cross.

But the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever”. Christ is the same for each human person. He has a specific will for each person, but that will always unfolds within the same “operational framework”. Which is to say, it’s not that for one person he grants one moral system, and he gives a different moral system to another person. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever”.

So, considering our expectations for the Lord, we need also need to ask if our expectations are in conformity with who and what he really is. Because if we fall into the trap of creating a personal Jesus, we will take offense at him in the end. He is a Messiah who carries a cross, and it’s not always easy to follow him. But he is also a Messiah who is good and merciful, and to those who believe in him – to those who make the effort to believe in who and what he really is –he gives heavenly assistance. Therefore, we ask him: Lord, increase our faith; Lord, free us from all error; Lord, help us to follow you faithfully in this life so that we can live eternally happy with you in the next. Amen.

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