Thursday, August 9, 2012

The path to believing in Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Web de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 8, 2012


John 6: 41-51

According to John's narrative, Jesus repeats more and more openly that he has come from God to offer everyone food that gives eternal life. The people can't go on listening to something so scandalous without reacting. They know his parents. How can he say he comes from God?

Their reaction cannot surprise any of us. Is it reasonable to believe in Jesus Christ? How can we believe that the unfathomable Mystery of God has been incarnated in this specific man, born shortly before the death of Herod the Great and known for his prophetic activities in Galilee in the third decade?

Jesus doesn't answer their objections. He goes directly to the root of their incredulousness: "Stop murmuring among yourselves." It's wrong to resist his radical novelty, obstinately thinking they already know everything about his true identity. He'll show them the path they can follow.

Jesus assumes no one can believe in him if they don't feel attracted to him. Perhaps from our culture, we understand it better than those people in Capernaum. It's harder and harder for us to believe in doctrines or ideologies. Faith and trust are awakened in us when we feel attracted to someone who is good for us and helps us live.

But Jesus warns them of something very important: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him." God himself produces the attraction to Jesus. The Father who sent him to the world stirs our hearts so that we approach Jesus with joy and trust, overcoming doubt and resistance.

That's why we have to listen to God's voice in our hearts and let ourselves be led by Him to Jesus. Let ourselves meekly be taught by this Father, Creator of life and Friend of human beings: "Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me."

Jesus' statement seemed revolutionary to those Hebrew people. Biblical tradition said that human beings listen in their hearts to God's call to faithfully fulfill the Law. The prophet Jeremiah had proclaimed God's promise thus: "I will place my law within you, and write it upon your hearts."

Jesus' words invite us to have a different experience. Consciousness isn't just the hidden and privileged place where we can listen to God's law. If, in the depths of our being, we feel attracted to what is good, beautiful, noble, to what is good for human beings, what builds a better world, we will easily feel invited by God to tune in to Jesus. It's the best path to believing in him.

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