Men Meet Jesus Series : Jesus Christ – Divine Evangelist
Author’s note: Perhaps the core reason that so many men are Casual Catholics is that they don’t know Jesus Christ. For many, Jesus is distant: conceptual, abstract, theological, vague, a historical artifact…not a real Person who is alive and rules the world today.
For many men, the first step in building a life of faith is to meet Jesus. In some ways, a man can meet Jesus as he might another person: you see him from afar, learning things about Him, observing His manhood and personality, listening to what He says. As you meet Jesus with your mind from afar, you can not help but be awed: Jesus is the most impressive man you’ve never met…for He is God Himself.
As you become more familiar with Jesus and become more impressed, you will naturally want to get to know Him better; this is the stage of personal prayer. Moving from saying rote prayers where a man’s lips move but his heart does not, personal prayer is an open dialog with Jesus Christ; here a man speaks of his uncertainty, his sorrows, his joys and his needs. A man also begins to realize that Jesus Christ has given him everything and then the man’s heart begins to offer genuine and soul-stirring thanksgiving.
At this point, a man has realized that Christ is the Source of everything, the Divine Power and Grace that keeps the world in motion and provides for man’s every need. Man can do nothing but to fall on his knees in gratitude, surrendering in the poverty of spirit to the leadership and care of Jesus Christ and becoming a disciple of the King. Now, both a man’s head and his heart knows not only about Jesus, but has begun to know the Person, Jesus Christ.
The Meeting Jesus Weekly Series is an attempt to help men approach Jesus Christ with their minds, observing Jesus Christ as the Awesome King and Lord that He Is. Men, take this step weekly, reflect on the teaching about Jesus Christ from Holy Scripture and the unbelievably rich desposit of faith from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And be an evangelist – share these teachings about Jesus with your family, especially the men of your family.
Satanspel – The Devil’s Story
At Eden, Satan seduces Man with the false story (from the Old English “spel”) that humans can have “all knowledge” and “become like gods” (Gen 3:5). The turning away from God and His Truth to the devil’s false story, the Satanspel, is the fall of Man into Original Sin.
The Satanspel of today promises that a “modern” secular society (humans can be gods) and information technology (knowledge) will lead to the salvation of humans. Secularists seek to neutralize God in the public square and promote an individualist order where all humans can fulfill their personal cravings for material goods and sexual perversion. The “knowledge” of Eden is the “information” of today with Man submerged in a swamp of information through ever-more intrusive media devices. In the “information overload”, the trivial, obscene and morbid seduce Man into greater and greater distraction from God, with Man falling into ever-greater darkness of sin.
Gospel of Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist
In Divine contrast to the dark lies of the Satanspel, the Gospel (literally, “Good news” or “God’s story”) is the Truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, whose name means “God saves”, brings the Divine good news that God Is and Man can be saved by God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, He, Himself, is the Good News, for He is God who comes into the world through the Incarnation to save Man from the dark spell cast by Satan. The Good News is the Story of Salvation for mankind. The Good News is that, rather than the randomness of deconstruction and cold evolutionary forces without a plot or storyline, there is the Truth of the Salvation Story in Jesus Christ.
What Jesus Teaches as Divine Evangelist
The Gospel Himself, Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist teaches that:
There is a Kingdom of God – Rather then the confusion and waywardness of Israel or the deception of the human tendency to want to become gods, Jesus Christ brings the Good News that God exists and rules eternity in His Kingdom (CCC 544).
Salvation is the Story – Rather then a long string of meaningless events, human history has a trajectory in God. Even in the treason of Eden, God describes the victory over Satan in the protoevangelium (Gen 3:15; CCC 410), in which Mary, the New Eve, through her seed Jesus Christ, will conquer evil. The Gospel is the Good News of the God Story, that Man can be saved from Original Sin and death, that Satan has been defeated (CCC 1086) and that there is a way of life and a way of death (CCC 1696). Jesus Christ is the turning point in Salvation History, fulfilling all the promises by God in the Old Testament (CCC 1964-70). Men are given a real history, a family history, in the Bible and the Traditions of the Church.
Jesus, Himself, is the Good News of the New Covenant – In the Incarnation, Jesus gives definitive proof of God’s existence. Jesus pays a high price and works tirelessly to bring the Good News, walking thousands of miles, healing the multitudes, living without a home, accepting the Will of the Father to submit to the injustice of puny men unto death. In the Incarnation, Jesus gives God a human face and man preserves this idea of Christ’s Good News in the blessings of Icons (CCC 1160).
Man must repent and accept the Good News – Jesus comes to set the record straight. Man is in deep trouble because of Original Sin, which is the opposite of the Gospel (CCC 389). Man must reject the false idols of human gods and scientific rationalism. Man has a choice and is accountable (1 Pt 4:17) for conversion (CCC 1427). Man will either be in the kingdom or outside with “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13). Man must not be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:15), “live a life worthy of the Gospel” (CCC 1692) and be prepared to give up all for the Gospel (CCC 2544).
There is Salvation in Christ – Jesus Christ ushers in a New Covenant, paying the price for human sin through His Crucifixion and offering all men the new life of the Resurrection (CCC 571). Christ teaches that there is no salvation for man without self-sacrificing love.
Man must embrace the Gospel through lifelong catechesis– Jesus Christ, Himself, is the Word, which is the Gospel. The Gospel is promulgated in writing and speaking (CCC 76). Man must continually be catechized and pass along the faith to the next generation through education/catechesis (CCC 2226).
Man must embrace the Church – Jesus Christ establishes His Church so that men can know the Truth be given Grace through the Sacraments. The Apostles pass along the authority for Christ’s Church on earth to bishops so that “the full and living Gospel might be preserved in the Church” (CCC 77) as their first and primary task (CCC 888). The Gospel is preached at every mass (CCC 1160). Christ establishes communio in the Church and the fraternity of brotherhood (CCC 2636).
Men are commanded to evangelize – Jesus preaches the Gospel with His own lips (CCC 75) and commands the Apostles to understand and preach the Gospel to all nations (Matt 26:13; Mark 13:10) for it is good news for all nations (CCC 528). Today, Man is called to be obedient evangelists (CCC 3; CCC 673), for the preaching of the Gospel has the power through the Holy Spirit to renew culture in Christ (CCC 2527). Man must take the Gospel seriously for it has been passed down for 2000 years with great hardship and sacrifice.
Responding to the Gospel has requirements – To fully respond to the Gospel, Man must embrace renewal in prayer (CCC 821) and be drawn into the sacraments (CCC 977). Jesus leaves a perpetual evangelization of man through the Sacraments (CCC 1247). To bear witness and promulgate the Gospel, Man must live a life faithful to the Gospel (CCC 2044: CCC 2226; CCC 2472).
Men must persevere to preach the Gospel – Christ teaches that there is great resistance to His Gospel, and despite apparent defeats and setbacks, Man must never cease to preach the Gospel (CCC 854).
He will send the Holy Spirit – Key to the Gospel is the promise that Christ makes to send the Holy Spirit to give the power to transmit the Gospel (CCC 2600, 2640).