From the Pastor – June 19, 2016 for adoration chapels in nolaOnce when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (Lk 9:18)

We might skip over the first part of today’s Gospel without thinking too much. Jesus asked: “who do the crowds say that I am.” We might not think about it because we already know who Jesus is. We know He’s the incarnate Son of God. He’s the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He’s the suffering servant. He’s the Good Shepherd. He’s the Son of Mary. He’s our Savior. He’s our Redeemer. He’s God.

But that’s the point. Since Jesus is God, He’s “everything.” And He came to proclaim Himself as the fulfillment of all of our dreams and desires. As Scripture said: He came “to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” (Lk 4:18). Whatever our deepest human need might be, Jesus is the remedy. So when Jesus asks us “who do you say I am,” He wants us to examine what our deepest needs are. And He wants us to see Him as the way toward satisfying them. Am I depressed? Then Jesus is the one who will help me carry my cross. Am I lonely? Then Jesus is with us in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with us. Am I stressed? Then Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Am I searching for something to give my life meaning? Then Jesus is the way. Am I confused and frustrated by the passing things of the world? Then Jesus is the truth. Am I tired of living in the darkness of sin? Then Jesus is the light.

And even more than that, for a Christian, Jesus is “all,” and this is the source of his or her benevolence. This was the focus of Pope Francis during Mass several years ago at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “A true Christian,” the Pope said, “knows how to solve the tension that exists between ‘all’ and ‘nothing.’” As Jesus has taught us: “First search for God’s Kingdom and its justice, the rest comes afterwards. God’s Kingdom is ‘all,’ the other is secondary. And all Christian errors, all the Church’s errors, all our errors stem from when we say ‘nothing’ is ‘all,’ and to ‘all’ we say it does not count… Following Jesus is not easy, but it’s not difficult either, because on the path of love the Lord does things in such a way that we can go forward; it is the Lord himself who opens up our heart.”

The Holy Father is reminding to pray so that we do not fight for small things, for the ‘nothings’ of daily life. He continued: “When one takes on an option for ‘nothing,’ it is from that option that conflicts arise in families, in friendships, between friends, in society. Conflicts that end in war: for ‘nothing’! ‘Nothing’ is always the seed of wars. Because it is the seed of selfishness. ‘All’ is Jesus. Let us ask the Lord to open up our heart, to make us humble, meek and benevolent because we have ‘all’ in Him; and let’s ask him to help us avoid creating everyday problems stemming from ‘nothing.’”

I have enjoyed many of our Holy Father’s daily homilies. He keeps the focus on Jesus, who is our “all.” for new orleans masses
Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty