Head of Christ, by Rembrandt7. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus

Jesus once told his disciples that doing the Father’s will was for him his very food, what gave him life and sustenance. Yet, for him as for us, it was no simple or straightforward matter. Let us then fix our eyes on Jesus, as the letter to the Hebrews tells us, as we, like him, seek the Father’s will.

We see Jesus showing his trust in the Father by his total commitment to his mission. He understood this mission as giving life in abundance to all, preaching the Good News to the poor and setting free from all that shackles us. Although he knew all power had been given to him, his style was that of a servant, washing the feet of his friends and asking them to do likewise. He was convinced that he came not to be served but to serve and give his life for all.

While he could easily have chosen to be proclaimed king and attract crowds with spectacular signs, he opted for loving all and befriending especially those who were marginalised by the others. He knew that this radical option for love would inevitably lead him to the cross, but he accepted this lot from the Father in full trust.

This does not mean he did not have to struggle, as he was repeatedly tempted to go for the easier option. His struggle was at its fiercest at the Garden of Gethsemani, with a heart sorrowful unto death, and in his deep anguish his sweat became like drops of blood. Yet he was ready to accept to drink the chalice that the Father presented him with, and on the cross he could say, My mission is now completed. This total faithfulness to the Father’s will was accepted and he was raised to life, never to die again. This is how Jesus is present to us now, as the Risen one.

Ignatius asks us to insist in prayer to know Jesus more intimately, to love him more intensely, and to follow him more closely. Discernment is much more than a technique or a method, it is rather following Jesus as we seek to find and live the Father’s will for us. This journey, like Jesus’, will certainly be overshadowed by the cross we are called to carry every day. But at its end lies life in abundance. And the Risen Jesus is always at our side.

From God’s word:

◦ “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Heb 12:1-3

◦ “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke up on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Mt 11:28-30

◦ “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” – Mk 14:35-36

◦ “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – Jn 19:30

 Questions

  • The Gospel is full of titles or metaphors that Jesus used to describe himself and help us understand him better: Lord, teacher, master, shepherd, light, way, truth, door, food… From all these do you have a favourite title yourself? 
  • When we read the Acts of the Apostles we are impressed by the fact that the Apostles preached mostly about the Resurrection of Jesus, the greatest sign of God’s faithfulness to his promises. How important is the Resurrection in my vision of Jesus, in my relationship to him?

More resources:

Listen to Archbishop Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, explain that Jesus’ basic message is trust in his person

The Pope reminds us that Jesus still prays for us:

He trusted in God that he would deliver him’ – from Handel’s Messiah:

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