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  My Witness

Vol. 1, No. 3, July, 1996

JESUS IS LORD! What does it mean?
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid This is the first in a series of articles entitled: "You are Invited to a Profound Interior Renewal" You may recognize this phrase from Sr. Angeline's message in the spring issue of' MY WITNESSES. It is contained in a quote from the Vatican II Decree on the Church's Missionary Activities. It is so important that I repeat it here: "Since the whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization the fundamental task of the people of God, this Sacred Synod invites all to undertake a profound interior renewal so that being vitally conscious of their responsibility for the spread of the Gospel they might play their part in missionary work among the nations (*35)." This invitation is especially meaningful now that Pope John Paul II has announced a jubilee year of Redemption beginning March 25th of this year How appropriate it is then for each of us to enter into a profound interior renewal. Where does one begin with interior renewal? We begin by turning to Jesus and accepting Him into our lives as Lord, surrendering our lives totally to Him and the power of His Holy Spirit.

"Who is Jesus?," someone asks you. You answer with hesitation because you are not used to expressing your faith relationship with Jesus out loud, even to yourself. "Well, Jesus is ... the Son of God ... who became man and who died on the Cross for us."

Somehow, you feel that you have not done a very good job of proclaiming who Jesus is; it sounded flat, not really how you felt, and the someone went away uninspired. Have you had this experience? Or, maybe the question someone asks you is, "Have you been saved?!" You do not know what to say.

These two questions are very close in meaning. Consider that "Jesus" is Hebrew for "savior." Then consider Ro. 10:9b, where St. Paul says, ...if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. "So, you might answer the question in this way: "Yes, I am saved because for me, Jesus is Lord. I accepted Him as Lord when I was baptized and reaffirmed that acceptance at Confirmation, and every day I strive anew to let Him be Lord of my life by the working of the Holy Spirit in me."

In this first article, we want to begin seeing just a little into this profound formulation of faith of the early Christian Church: "Jesus Christ is Lord!" Hopefully by means of this "seeing" we will accept the Lordship of Jesus more fully in our personal faith lives.

What does it mean to say: "Jesus is Lord"? Look a little further into chapter 10 of Paul's letter to the Romans, Ro. 10:13, "For, 'everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved'." The "Lord" here refers to Jesus, "everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved." The breathtaking aspect of this is that the phrase is taken from the Old Testament, where "Lord" refers to Yahweh. This is an expression of the Resurrection-faith of the followers of Jesus: He is Lord as Yahweh is Lord. He is equal to Yahweh. He is seated at the right hand of Yahweh (Acts 2:32f; Ro. 8:34; Mt. 22:41-46), Alleluia!

When St. Paul first met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he experienced Him as Lord (Acts 9:1-19). Jesus is Risen Lord. He has power to save. He has total dominion over Paul's life. When each of us accepts Jesus as Lord, as St. Paul did, then He calls us to surrender our lives totally to Him. He gives us new life. He makes us a new creation. "And he (Jesus) died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised... Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come." (2 Cor. 5:1 5,1 7; see Eucharistic Prayer 4.)

We come now to ask, just what sort of being is this "new creation"? or, in other words, when I let Jesus be Lord in my life, then who am I? (Jesus is _________; I am ________.) Well, St. Paul says that he is, "Paul a servant/slave of Jesus Christ..." (Ro. 1:1). In those first century days of St. Paul only slaves were servants; no free citizen was a servant. And yet St. Paul, in surrendering himself to the Lordship of Jesus, becomes a servant, a slave of Jesus Christ and yet free. It is only in totally surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that we come to know what real freedom is all about.

When Paul surrendered his life to the Lordship of Jesus and received the in-filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17), he was immediately empowered to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:20).

The work of evangelization is the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that our proclamation of Jesus is effective (1 Cor. 2:1-5). From this we learn that it is important for us to grow in our ability to surrender more and more of our lives to Jesus Christ, and to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in our lives.

During this Eastertide of joy and peace, as you prepare to receive a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit into your life on Pentecost, reflect upon what the Lord Jesus is saying to you personally about your surrender to Him as Lord. What is He asking you to turn over to Him that you want to keep for yourself? If He is going to be Lord over your life, then He wants all of you. He wants the Holy Spirit to be your guide and have His way in your life. Consider what it means for you to be a servant of Jesus, what it means for you to live as a new creation.

Meeting the Lord Jesus

As a help to making this teaching your own, I provide here some helps for your prayer reflection called, "Meeting the Lord Jesus." The scripture passage, Acts 9:1-22, is referred to in the article.

First:If you have skimmed over the article like a hydrofoil over water, go back and paddle across, dipping deep into the life-giving waters of the Word of God given there.

Second: Prepare for your prayer reflection in the following way. Stand before the Father, realize that He sees you, love Him, open yourself to be enlightened, to receive His Word, to be embraced by His love-EXPECT IT-pray the Our Father.

Pray: "Most loving Father, in the name of Jesus, our Lord, I beg you to fill me with your Holy Spirit that my imagination, my memory, my thoughts, the intentions of my will, my whole person during this time be given over to your praise, in deepest love for you, and for your service."

Third: Take your Bible now and prayerfully read Acts 9:1-22, putting yourself into the scene. Use your emotions, your feelings, your understanding; think what the Lord is saying to you personally.

Fourth: Now choose your answers to the following questions, letting the Spirit of Jesus reveal to you where you are in your surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.

1. As I reflect on my relationship with Jesus, I hear Him saying to me:

"______________, why do you ____________ me?"
        (name)                                                   (a,b,c,d,e)

a) persecute
b) ignore
c) run from
d) resent
e) other _______________________
2. The happening in this passage that convinces me that the Holy Spirit is able to change my life is:
a) that Saul could be converted to Paul
b) the lengths the Lord went to in bringing Saul to His will
c) Ananias' ability to hear the Lord speak to him
d) Ananias' ability to forgive Saul
e) other______________________________
3. Where I am in striving to surrender to the Lord Jesus:

   a              b              c              d              e

a) going to Damascus and away from the Lord
b) seeing a flash of light
c) living with blindness
d) waiting for more insight
e) beginning to realize the Lord's will for me
4. You have gained some insight into your relationship with the Lord Jesus. Write now a prayer to Him praising, thanking, and asking Him for what you need.

A Prerequisite for Effective Evangelization drawn from this article:

Accept Jesus Christ as Lord into your life, surrender over to Him all that you are holding back for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in your life.

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