Who introduced you to Jesus? Not who taught you the prayers or taught the doctrine, but who introduced you to the living person Jesus Christ? John the Baptist shows Andrew who Jesus is, Andrew got to know Jesus, and then he introduces Jesus to Peter, and it was a snowball effect. One person has introduced Jesus to another, that person forms a relationship with him, and then introduces Jesus to someone else. Sometimes, the introduction begins with witness. I bet for most of us how we began to know Jesus was done by example. Someone we knew or know lives so close to Jesus which is reflected in their attitude and actions, that we are attracted and want to know the person who enables them to be like that. Other times, someone gives a witness talk and introduces Jesus on a whole new level. Once the introduction is done, then it is up to us to put the time and effort into making it work, just like any other relationship.
Jesus wants to be in a life giving intimate relationship with us; but, he won’t force us. The other thing is that our relationship with Christ must seep into the very depths of who we are and be the source of all our decisions and attitudes. For example, the very first principle of Catholic Social teaching it to recognize and honor the dignity of the human person. Jesus certainly lived that out. From the lepers he cured, the sinners he forgave, even the good thief on the cross, Jesus said to each person he or she is a beloved Child of God. Even when he dealt with the Pharisees and those who were against him, he still treated them with dignity. Name calling and stereotypes, racism and prejudice, any label that puts a person down or in a box is against the this is principle. How can anyone say they know Jesus and yet treat others like this? Jesus worked to change society and introduced us to the Kingdom of heaven; only be being in an intimate relationship with Him can we work to make the Kingdom come.
Catholic social teaching teaches us to be in solidarity with all humanity. Jesus stood with the poor and the needy, he was a refugee when he fled into Egypt to avoid Herod, he was crucified as a criminal, and the examples continue. To know Jesus in an intimate way is to realize that we must stand with him in these very same principles. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our friend by embracing him in all those who society puts down, sees as a throw away, or not worthy of our love. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Jesus is our acknowledgement that we are interconnected with every person in the world. We saw this in the Magi who came to worship him or the centurion who asked for healing for his servant.
I would like today to introduce you to me friend and if you permit me, to echo the words of John the Baptist: Behold the Lamb of God. Behold my Friend Jesus who wants to know you? Behold my friend how says to you “Come and spend your life with me”. My prayer for you and for me is that we keep repeating the words of Samuel and the psalmist: Here I am Lord, I will do your will.