A dramatic way to get people to use their imagination, say, in the middle of a talk or a presentation is to tell them to close their eyes and place themselves in a particular situation or with a certain person and then they talk you through what this would look like in this imaginary world. Normally, what I do is doze off until they tell everyone to open their eyes—-so I’m not going to ask you to do that here today, but I am just curious what our image of Jesus is, what I mean is when we pray who to we pray to? If it’s Jesus what does He look like? If we could see Him how would we describe Him? In the Scriptures there are many different images of Christ. He is the Good Shepherd that carries the sheep on his shoulders, He is the humble servant that washes the feet of His Apostles. Modern Art has depicted Jesus in a whole slew of different ways from the Hippie Jesus imprinted on T Shirts as He who le “it’s all cool” because I’m your homeboy to the judgment Jesus that adorns our National Basilica in Washington D.C. where He flexes His muscles of condemnation on those who break His laws.
Who really is the person of Jesus Christ because on one level Our Gospel gives us another image of our Lord as pyromaniac wanting to burn stuff Jesus and then there’s breaking up families setting father against son and mother against daughter homewrecker Jesus. What could this possibly mean?
Just close your eyes and let me explain it to you all…just kidding. Jesus Christ the son of the living God isn’t just a political figure who proposes a way to follow, Jesus says I am the WAY—come follow me. Jesus doesn’t say what’s true for you is true for you and what’s true for me is true for me, let’s just agree to disagree, NO, He says I am the TRUTH. Jesus doesn’t just want us to live our lives however we want, have fun, do whatever, and take a lot of pictures, He actually says I am the LIFE. IF Jesus is the way, the life, and the truth then that means a whole lot of others things AREN’T the way, aren’t true, and aren’t a good way to live.
The fire that Jesus wants to start isn’t one that would get Smoky the Bear upset with anyone, it’s not in the forest or the bbq pit, but in the hearts of his followers. In the beautiful Biblical poetry of the Song of Songs we hear, “Love is a fire no waters avail to quench, no floods to drown.” Love is a fire, our Lord wants the fire of His love to burn up our hearts with a Passion for Him because on our own as the Rolling Stones capture it so eloquently, “I can’t get no satisfaction, cause I try and I try and I try and I try.” Once we’ve experienced the satisfaction that only the Lord can give we want it for everyone else we possibly know, and it divides our hearts, it hurts when others don’t get it, especially when it’s our father or mother, sister or brother. The Philosopher Peter Kreeft says, “If my love is divided, my destiny, and my joy and very identity are divided. Only one great love can make one great person.” The world is never enough, only Jesus Christ is.
Maybe another image of Lord that we need to explore is the Cross. There He is before us stretched, nailed, pierced and poured out. His love whole and undivided given freely for you and for me, here we look and we see His eyes aren’t CLOSED but WIDE OPEN and they reveal that if we want to know who we are and what He is all about— we simply need to gaze into His love for you and for me and understand what Passion looks like, the name we assign to His last moments on this earth where a consuming fire of love where the gift of His life became the offering for ours that reconciled the world unto Himself. The question is, IS His love enough for us, can we look to Him and be satisfied or are we attached to other false images that simply leave us wanting. Look to Lord, receive His love and together we can set the world ablaze with the fire of His everlasting love.