Newsletter July 1st 2018

Jesus, a specialist in encounter

Jesus lived in a world without phones or computers or radio or television. The only way to meet people was by direct face-to-face encounter. You could also write letters to people and receive letters from them; but there are no letters in the gospels. Letters do play a big role in the earliest Christian community, as we see in the Acts of the Apostles, the Book of Revelation, and the Letters of Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude. Letters could be a big event in those days. But the world of the Gospels is a world of close personal encounters.

It seems as if God wants to meet us in Jesus only in the warmest and most physical way, taking our hand, touching our wounds, looking on us with love, and bidding us take heart with warm words of encouragement. Jesus, as he appears in the Gospels,, is a person who specializes in face to face encounter. From beginning to end of the Gospels we are in his presence and addressed directly by him. Reading the Gospels is like visiting a doctor or a spiritual director for individual counselling.

Jesus’s healing presence is a model for us to imitate. When he urges us to visit the sick and those in prison, he does so less for their sake than for ours. To visit the sick is to enlarge our world, to face reality in all its depth, and to meet Christ himself. Christ wishes for us these encounters that will bless us and make us deeper human beings.

1st July 2018
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