KNOWING CHRIST (Jn 17:1-11): 04 May 2008 (Seventh Sunday of Easter)
Unlike many of my friends, I’ve never liked “Godspell,” the critics’ raves notwithstanding. I’ve always preferred “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Its whole concept simply doesn’t work for me. However, having said that, I have to say that it has a couple of outstanding songs. The one that I like best is the popular “Day by Day”–a prayer about getting to know the Lord gradually, one day at a time, and as a result, learning to love him and follow him more.
In the Gospel reading today, the Lord tells us: “Now, this is eternal life, that they should know you, the one true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
That sounds simple enough except that it isn’t as simple as it sounds. As we know, there are times in our lives when we feel that we do not know or understand God. This is to be expected. Our reason is quite limited, and God is infinitely beyond our reason: He can never be captured by our labels and descriptions of him. Ours is a God of surprises. Many times, just when we think we know him already, he pulls the rug from under our feet, and we realize that there’s so much more to know.
It’s the same with the Lord. To follow Christ is not at all like taking a route familiar to us, where every turn and every detour has been mapped out for us. Nothing can be farther from the truth. To follow Christ is to go on a magnificent adventure that may bring you to places unexpected, even to places unwanted. It is a journey that is full of surprises—some pleasant, others painful. But it is a journey worth taking because it is a journey where Christ himself accompanies us, and a journey that, if pursued to the end, will bring us to the Father.
As we go on our individual journey of following Christ, let us remember that if we do not always understand him, if we are caught by surprise, that is to be expected. What is important is that we are willing to follow him even without understanding. What is important is that we admit that we have questions about him, and ask him what it all means. Our questions, after all, are doors that can lead us to a deeper discovery of Christ.
When you think about it, to follow Christ means several things: It means, first of all, to obey him, to do as he says, to follow his commands—i.e., to love one another, especially those most needy among us.
To follow him also means to imitate him, to be more Christlike, to be like him in our daily lives, so it is important that we strive to know him as much as we can.
But finally, more than anything else, to follow Christ means to walk after him, for he is always one step ahead of us. It means that even if we may not always understand him, or we may not completely understand, we will still allow him to lead us. We just have to take things one day at a time.
Here’s a Quick Question for you: “Have you experienced one particular moment when you felt that you didn’t know the Lord? Why?”
Note: Here is a clip of the song “Day by Day” from “Godspell.” If you can’t watch the video, clickhere.