Jesus always meets us where we’re at. He’s been doing it for thousands of years – much to the chagrin of the pharisees. Maybe we’re tax collectors, prostitutes or suffering under a burden of different sins, anxieties and pains.
He doesn’t separate himself from the unclean, he goes out to find the lost sheep, and bring them Home.
The following is a journal entry from a couple of years ago, a prayerful entry talking to Jesus. The “humble servant” I refer to is a local parish pastor with astounding homiletic abilities – but he’s very humble, and I didn’t ask permission to publish his name. (Side note: I really did refer to him as humble servant in the original journal entry.)
This week I went to the Adoration Chapel. You led me to a shelf, and to the Confessions of St. Augustine. Book 11, chapter 22 was titled “A New Task”. I believe you’re telling me that I don’t have to fear an uprooting event that changes my life more than I’m ready for. I just have to trust in You, surrender my will, and ask for “the next task”.
In today’s mass, I heard further reinforcement. The music, readings, and homily all reinforced this.
My tendency as a budding apologist is to feel edified in the readings of Isaiah 22:19-23 and Matthew 16:13-20 that I belong to the church You founded on Earth. Thankfully, your humble servant reminded me about John 21.
Peter had denied You three times, and so in John 21 You asked him three times if he loved You. I know the scripture, and always see it as the primacy of Peter despite his many faults. Today was different.
I learned today that in the Greek You first asked Peter for Agape love. He responded with “yes” in the filios sense. Finally, on the third time, You asked him if he loved You in the filios sense. As Your humble servant’s homily illuminated, You “met Peter where he was”.
Whether the Quo Vadis legend is correct or not, you led Peter where he was, to the Agape love that sacrificed all, even on a cross [his cross in Rome].
So I surrender my will, in my limited way to say “lead me to the next task”. Take my hand, and guide me to the next cobblestone, though I might be too timid to see the destination.
“…Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof; but only say the Word, and my servant [soul] will be healed” – Matthew 8:8
It seems that Jesus does come to us where we are – even in our sin. Sometimes my biggest sin is pride. So I pray “Lord, keep me humble… but BE gentle!” And sometimes the example of a humble servant is just that.