He appointed twelve

Jesus and His ApostlesDo you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

Sometimes, that questioned asked by an evangelical Christian can cause many (Catholics and myself included) to quickly respond with “Yes, I do,” then quickly move on. What is it about that question that makes us feel uncomfortable? Maybe it is the intensity with which it is usually asked. Maybe that question makes us feel so uncomfortable because it forces us to realize that we do not have a relationship with Jesus or we do but it’s a very one-sided and shallow relationship.

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

In our first reading today, we hear Jeremiah’s prophecy about a new covenant between God and Israel.

I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest. For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more. 

God wants a relationship with us. He loves us and it brings Him so much joy when we decide to return His love to Him. God places it in our minds every day and He writes love on our hearts so that we might decide to turn to Him. God made several covenants throughout the Old Testament but each time, it became obsolete. Then God made the most incredible covenant with mankind. He sent his only son down to Earth to teach us, to love us, and to die for us.

Jesus Christ is the new covenant and with him, a relationship like never before. With Jesus, a true friendship between man and God is possible and desired. It is possible for us to communicate with God about our everyday lives and know that he understands because he was human too. What was one of the most important things to Jesus, after his Holy Family? Friendship.

In the gospel reading, we hear about the time that Jesus began the church through friendship.

He appointed twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons…

The outreach of the Church to the community began with this band of brothers. Jesus chose twelve specific men to join him, to travel and live with him, to be with him through the good times and the bad and to be his friend. It is in this choosing of the twelve apostles that Jesus still speaks to us today. He chooses us, just like he chose them. We are called to be Jesus’ friend, we are called to live as the apostles did, traveling with Jesus, eating with Jesus, and communing with Jesus. It is through this example of friendship with us that we truly begin to understand how closely Jesus wants to be to us.

Jesus and his apostles became friends by spending every waking moment with each other for years. They formed bonds through sharing meals, talking about current events, and most importantly, by praying with each other. We know unconditional love and friendship only because Christ first taught us about those. Jesus taught us how incredible we, as human beings, can be.

Now, Jesus asks us to drop everything and follow him. Jesus is asking to be our friend. By dying on the cross, Christ has already proved his loyalty and friendship to us. If we do not have a loving, friendly relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, it is because we do not talk to Him. We do not visit Him. We do not share what is going on in our lives with Him. We do not go to Him when we are weak and hurting. We do not apologize to Him for ignoring and turning our backs on Him.

Even though we are terrible friends to Jesus, sometimes, He will never stop telling us that He loves us. He will always have His arms open wide to us. He will always forgive those who are truly repentant for the sins.

Any relationship requires five elements: communication, sacrifice, trust, kindness, and respect. If we want to be friends with God, all we need to do is turn our hearts toward Him. He will help us grow every single day because He loves us that much. As soon as we turn our hearts toward Him and decide to be open to Him, we will desire communication with God. We will begin sacrificing in order to be friends with Him. We will begin to trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We will become more kind-hearted and loving. We will have more respect for ourselves and the life around us.

Jesus asks you every day to be friends with Him. Will today be the day that you stop turning your back on our God? Will today be the day that you realize you have an amazing and loving relationship waiting for you? Will today be the day that you allow yourself to be loved as you’ve always deserved?

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

 

Kurt Tobin, my husband, helped with this reflection.