The ministry of Jesus was unlike any other because he spoke with authority, the authority of God, and he performed miracles revealing his power over nature, sickness, and evil. Jesus uses his teaching authority and his miracles so that the people might believe in him as the Messiah. However, he does not want the people to look to him as a political leader who will deliver them from the Roman occupation. His teaching is always about the Kingdom of God; about our need for conversion, to turn away from sin and to be faithful; to love God above all things and our neighbor as our self.
Why did Jesus teach in Parables?
When the Apostles heard Jesus, they immediately left everything and followed him. There were others who were attracted to Jesus just because they heard of his miracles and hoped he would do something for them. And then there were those who refused to believe in him and looked for an opportunity to prove he was an imposter.
They all heard the same thing and saw the same thing, but their response was different. It is for this reason that Jesus frequently taught in parables. The parables were an invitation to look deeper and to believe and not be among those who had eyes and could not see, ears and could not hear, and hearts that would not be converted.
Embrace a Relationship with Jesus
The same is true for us today. We all hear the same Gospel, we all have seen or heard remarkable things that can only be explained as God’s intervention, and our responses can be quite different. So, the question that has eternal consequences for each of us is, do we believe Jesus is God, and do we want to follow him? Do we have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that are willing to be converted? Do we want to embrace a relationship with Jesus – which means to trust in His providence every day and embrace his message which causes us to make changes to the way we live?
Some people hesitate because they think they will have to give up too much to be a disciple of Jesus. On the contrary, a relation with our Lord will lead us to live life more fully – with hope. Perhaps we think we aren’t good enough to follow our Lord. Jesus knows that our fallen nature is an obstacle to faithful discipleship; that we are inclined by our nature to be selfish. For this reason, He said we must deny our self, take up our cross and follow Him. Knowing how difficult this is for us He pursues us and gives us opportunities to discover His Love and mercy. Sometimes an addiction can rob a person of all hope and they finally turn to God and begin life anew. It may be a serious illness or financial difficulty that causes a person to realize they need God. It may be through a retreat or a pilgrimage experience that a person is awakened to the presence of God and then begins to commit their life to prayer and the sacraments. Or perhaps it is a simple challenge to wake up and take God seriously.
Is Jesus the Lord of Your Life?
About forty years ago someone asked me if Jesus was the Lord of my life. I don’t remember my response, but in my heart, I knew I should say no. I went to Mass every Sunday but gave God little thought after that. My faith had little influence over the decisions I made. So, the question remained, did I or did I not want Jesus to be the Lord of my life? That thought haunted me for a while before I decided to do something about it. Within a few weeks, I bought my first Bible, joined a prayer group at the parish, and began to spend time in prayer every day. Those three decisions began to reshape my life and created a desire to draw close to God. My wife Mary Jane had the same desire and we started going to daily Mass and becoming more involved in our parish.
We know from our personal experience that there is a great difference between knowing about God in a casual way instead of having a desire to know God in a personal way and wanting to be faithful to what He has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church. Our relationship with God brought new joy to our marriage and to our life in general. God has a great plan for all of us, and He wants us to invite Him to be in the center of that plan.
The Lord knows our struggles and for this reason, He established His Church so that through the sacraments we have access to all the grace we need to be faithful and intimately connected to Him. Jesus is still alive in His Church and He still speaks with authority and He still works miracles. For our part do we have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that are willing to be converted? If Jesus is not yet the priority of your life, make a commitment today to take the first step –in a moment of silence – approach Jesus in humility – open your heart to Him who waits for you. He will give you the grace to do what you cannot do on your own. It’s never too late to begin anew with Christ!
Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.