Pastoral Message – March 13, 2022
Last Friday, I was driving thru a local fast-food place where, I guess, I am known. I didn’t know anybody working there knew me. I usually like to remain anonymous at the drive-thru. And I’m not sure exactly how I came to be known by the workers – maybe I had worn a roman collar once driving-thru, or maybe they had seen me at Mass? I’m not really sure. But the dude at the window said… “It’s a good thing you didn’t order any carnitas today Father. It’s Friday”. Whew! I was so glad that I changed up my regular order, asking them to put a shrimp or two in that burrito! And I was a little surprised that the nice dude at the window knew that I always order carnitas. All I know is that I’m going to have to start varying my diet by going to the vegan drive-thru more often.
Now the vignette above is a little bit silly I know, but if I’m known by fast food workers, then you might be known by fast food workers too. Come to think of it, we’re not really sure who knows us. And for the most part, anyone with whom we have some kind of semi-regular contact is using their powers of observation and deduction, intuition and discernment to arrive at a knowledge of us. They only other way for anyone to know you more fully would be to reveal your inner being to them. To show them who you are.
In our Gospel today, Jesus fully revealed himself to those who were closest to him at the time, and then to all those in the future who seek to be close to him. By intuition and deductive observation, Jesus could have been known by his actions; his preaching; his ability to feed 5,000 folks, not at the drive-thru window, but thru miracles. I suggest that one could arrive at a pretty fair understanding of who Jesus was. Most any dude could say that they recognize Jesus but they wouldn’t fully understand Jesus’ whole identity. That’s why the question about Jesus’ identity runs throughout the Gospels.
But for those closest to Him, Jesus revealed his relationship with God, the Father and the Holy Spirit on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus showed us His inner being – who He is through and through. And He also revealed to those closest to Him, that through Him, a relationship with God, the Father and the Holy Spirit could be not only be possible but could be fully embraced. This is how Jesus answers any and all questions about His identity. And the answer to Jesus’ identity, and how we line up our own identity with Jesus becomes great news for us.
So in this week of Lent, let’s be aware that lots of folks know us, even if we’re unaware. And we can make ourselves known by little signs and wonders. The crucifix we wear around our necks reveal something about us. But how we embrace the Cross of Christ reveals even more. The love of God reveals our faith and our hope. But offering hope compassionately, showing that faith is real, and putting God’s charity into practice reveals even more. Consider that folks are deducing and observing and thinking that they know you. Maybe reveal a little more fully, by attitude, word and deed, your inner life as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Be a most excellent witness, revealing Christ to our world.