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           Do you perceive Jesus as a teacher who came and saw what was wrong with us, then told us what to do, and went safely back to his Father? That is not the way of Jesus! He is with you, right now, into the darkest places of your life, and in the darkest places of planet Earth. “He is there where there is darkness, oppression, hardship and he is there in the doom and gloom of everyday life, in your physical illness, in all forms of psychological, mental, and spiritual distress. He is there in your particular way that you are worrying about your children, about your parents, about your spouse. He is there in that deep injustice that destroyed your reputation; in that old grudge; in the loss of a loved one, in your own fears and vulnerability, in your profound failures, in your persistent sin.” (Adapted from Bishop Barron)

           How can I say that? It’s written all over the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, from cover to cover; and more to it, with the Incarnation, with Jesus Christ, true God, true man. God is undergoing personally all the possible trials we are going through. “He was tempted in every way we are.” (Hebrews 4:15) He suffered in all the ways we suffer. And he put his light in the darkest places. During his life, he dealt with the darkest forces as a warrior and a lover. He took all into himself, absorbed it, and transformed it into himself. From the darkest places, he let his light shine on us. He started his public ministry in the darkest places of Israel, in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, of the Northern Kingdom where the first invasion of the enemy happened. He invaded it with light, grace, and truth. Then he moved slowly to the south where the second invasion happened, in Jerusalem. He was crucified there and rose again on the third day. And he is still with us today. He recapitulated all the history of Israel, and succeeded where it had failed. He is still doing that today, all over the world.

           Don’t think of Jesus as an individual. Rather, he is part of the divine family, of the communion of grace, power, and truth between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Where he walks, the Creator and Redeemer is walking, loving, and healing. He is restoring that original intimacy with God that was in the Garden. Why is life still difficult then? It’s because we have to be transformed into him. We have to let go of our hatred, violence, fear, and stop running away from him. Become vulnerable to his love, his purifying gaze. Allow yourself to be molded into him. He is saying to you what he said to Peter and James, “Come, follow me.” By this, he means, “Walk as I walk, do as I do, see as I see. Put love and forgiveness where there is no forgiveness and you will find love and forgiveness for yourself. Become a fisher of men, one who fish men out of darkness into the light. Gather them into me, into my divine family. I have done everything. Yet you still have everything to do. But I will be with you in your boat, fishing with you.”

God bless you,

  Fr. Pierre