Jesus: The Man and the Message
by Fr. Jack McArdle
For many years now I have been endeavouring in my own tin-pot way to devolve some sort of new theological language for expressing concepts and truths that, in themselves, can be abtruse and abstract. In this book the process continues, but with one major difference. This book is about Jesus, who is anything but abstract, and whose message is anything but abstruse. Incarnation has given us a God with flesh and blood just as we are; someone who walked our world, and who sailed our waters (not to mention walking on the waters as well!). He came as a child, he spoke to children and about children, and he invited us to get in touch with the Inner Child within all of us, if we hoped to discover a proper response to his message. Such a discovery would be the beginning of the process of total recovery into life in abundance.
These reflections are quite personal, which is a quality I try to preserve in whatever I write. I can say, without any desire to be pretentious, that the person of Jesus fascinates me. I experience a constant futility in trying to grasp the scope of his simplicity, and the wholeness that his life exemplifies. I see him as extremely courageous, with very clear convictions about truth, and how it should be taught and lived. He spoke with great fervour, something that goes with knowing what one is talking about. I don't wish to border on the factitious here, like the person who began his talk with the words 'As Jesus said, and rightly so...'! I do, however, allow myself the freedom to express something of what I admire in him, in his personality, and in his message. When I look at the ocean, I can see a vast expanse of water. I must remember, however, that all I can see is the surface of the water, and not the millions and millions of gallons that lie beneath that surface. Like St. John, I can write only 'what I see', and humbly accept the fact that my vision is as limited as the horizon determined by God's Spirit. I have enjoyed writing reflections on Jesus as a teacher, as a friend, as a rebel. In the very best sense of the word, he could really stir things up! I could never imagine myself being bored in his presence, because of the inner bubbling enthusiasm he exuded. When he spoke of the Spirit being a fountain of living water rising up from within, he exemplified that in a clear and credible way. He spoke the word that challenged, as well as the word of comfort and compassion. He was prepared to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable. In himself, he is a person who leads, and his message is one to follow. He was totally unambiguous and uncomplicated in his living and in his teaching.
Knowing about Jesus must lead us to know him in a personal way. He himself is his greatest message. In the history of salvation, he is God's final and definitive message and invitation. That invitation always evokes a respone, even if it is one of indifference. We have to decide one way or another. 'You are either for me, or against me', he said. He came for the fall, as well as for the resurrection of many. There is not one might or maybe throughout the whole gospel. He came to do and to teach, and in that order. He is the greatest role model ever given us in the living out of our own lives. He is not manipulating or demanding. All he asks for is good-will, and for this he promises peace on earth. In presenting these reflections, I depend totally on his Spirit to make use of the words I use, and the views I express. May you, the reader, be truly blessed in the reading.
Jesus: The Man and the Message
- #1: The Message
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It's Me Again, Lord... copyright © 2004 Fr. Jack McArdle. All rights reserved.