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  My Witness

Vol. 2, No. 4, November, 1997

Letting Jesus Be Lord!
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid This is the sixth in a series of articles entitled: "You Are Invited to a Profound Interior Renewal." We repeat the quote from the Vatican II Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity:

"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, Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity).

In the summer issue of MY WITNESSES, we began to see how our relationship with Jesus as Lord of our life is a life of faith.

We go on now to reflect on the "fruit" that we experience in our life as we strive to grow strong in faith. St Paul tells us in Romans 5:1-5: "Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The first fruit that we experience in ourselves when we accept Jesus as Lord, having faith in His saving power, is peace with God. What is this kind of peace? Is it the peace that the Justice and Peace Movement is working for today? Is it the peace that one of you exasperated mothers demand when you say, "Shut off that stereo so we can have some peace?

No. The secret to the kind of peace that Jesus brings is this: the means by which the peace is accomplished. Jesus willingly gave His life so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be brought into right relationship with the Father. This is the peace that Jesus brings. We have not earned forgiveness of our sins, and we are not worthy to have a personal relationship with the Lord. It is gift, all gift.

Jesus appeared to His disciples after He rose from the dead and said to them: " 'Peace be with you. As the Father sent me even so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (John 20:21-23). As the Father has not counted our trespasses against us, neither must we hold others trespasses against them. By this dying to our self-righteousness, and forgiving the sins of others, peace comes upon us, upon those around us, and the Kingdom of God comes closer to us.

Almost everyone wants peace, this kind of peace that is right relationship with God, forgiveness of our sins with no questions asked, the way Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11). Few, however, are willing to drink of this Spirit of Jesus in order to be able to give this peace, this forgiveness to others.

Why is this? Do we think it costs us too much to live our faith out by bearing the fruit of peace to others? Perhaps that's it Maybe I am not willing to pay the price for peace. By material standards, looking at it from the economics of life in today's society, the profit from giving forgiveness and bringing peace adds nothing to our bank account It doesn't even give us status in the civic community, like giving a large donation to a non-for-profit organization would. It may not even make us feel good, at first; later, yes, but at first, to give forgiveness to someone who has for the seventieth time done us in, is like having a molar filled without anesthetic. Or, it is like giving our shirt to someone who has already taken our coat Maybe this kind of forgiveness is the meaning under the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:38-41: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles"

One reason that it is so hard to forgive is that, unlike Jesus, we want our just due. We feel that we have a right to be treated justly, in fact, to receive even a little red carpet treatment. This is why Jesus gives us His Spirit so that we can have the desire and the will to empty ourselves, as Jesus emptied Himself (Philippians 2:5-11).

Forgiveness is mercy; it is love that is not deserved. Who can understand it? Why should we love someone who does not deserve it? As our Father forgives us in Jesus, by Jesus laying down His life for us, He gives us His Spirit and sends us to forgive others, and to bring peace.

Is it possible, do you think, for you to live this faith life, bearing the fruit of peace, alone? It is doubtful. Without the support of a community of faith, none of us can withstand the pressures of our modern, pagan culture for very long. We are molded by what we see and hear, without even realizing it. Take, for example, something that seems indifferent: the advertisements on T.V. We cannot take in hours of hearing, "You're worth it.", "You've got a right...!" "There's more for your life with...!", without being influenced to pride and power. The values of our society are not the values of the Gospel.


Here are some helps to make this reflection your own:

First: Reread the article. Ponder carefully those things that you had never thought about before.

Second: Prepare yourself for prayer. Stand before the Father, realizing that He looks upon you and loves you. 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 be for your praise".

Third: Take your Bible and slowly read John 20:21-23. Hear the Lord Jesus address these words to you personally.

Fourth: Now choose your answers to the following questions:

  1. To whom is Jesus sending me?
    a)  I don't know.
    b)  I have never thought of myself as being sent by Jesus.
    c)  Jesus is sending me to_____________________________.
    d)  other ____________________________
  2. When Jesus says to me, "Peace be with you", I feel like:
    a)  I have a great desire for this peace, but I don't experience it.
    b)  I am not worthy.
    c)  I am loved and forgiven!
    d)  other ____________________________
Fifth: Commit to memory the first two verses of Romans 5. "Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God"

The Word has the power to encourage you and to console you. As you become rooted in it it will slowly begin to mold your life into the image of Jesus.

Prerequisites for Effective Evangelization drawn from this article:

Live your faith by receiving the peace of Jesus and giving it to others by forgiving them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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