Eight truths every Catholic should know
Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of eight Lenten columns.
Second truth: The Lordship of Jesus Christ
In a casual conversation some time ago, a good friend of mine told me that she was looking into Asian religious practices. I was intrigued and asked her to tell me more. As the discussion moved on, I was alarmed by her growing excitement over Eastern spiritualities. This friend was a Christian, and I wrongly thought that her interest was merely cultural. It became very obvious to me that she was investing a lot of religious conviction and heart into these Asian beliefs and practices.
Eventually I inquired how her assent to these non-Christian beliefs complemented her acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and how they fit into her life as a disciple of the Lord Jesus. This dear friend of mine told me that they were all the same. She supposed that the polytheism of the Far East and its system of beliefs and practices were the same as the monotheism and the theology of the Christian religion.
Needless to say, this comment prompted a very long discussion.
Towards the end of our conversation I asked her, “Don’t you realize that when you declare Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Savior, you also acknowledge all other claims of divinity to be false?” She thought such a claim was arrogant and narrow-minded.
From the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the world was given a promise that it would be ransomed and readmitted into God’s family. The whole history of Israel, as the chosen people, is the drama of that promise, the struggle of fidelity to its decrees, and the anticipation of its fulfillment. Israel’s waiting is the waiting of all humanity. It is the waiting of each person.
In the fullness of time, God sent his son to be born of a woman. Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecies of old and began to preach the kingdom of God. He revealed to humanity the triune nature of God: that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God himself is forever a communion of persons, a divine family. To all who believed in him, he gave the power to be born again and adopted by God the Father.
In accepting the lordship of Jesus Christ, we acknowledge: Here in this one, only in him, are our hopes and the hopes of humanity fulfilled. In him, only in Jesus, can we find the full answers, complete meaning, and ultimate purpose of life and the life of humanity.
We realize that Jesus is our savior and the redeemer of the world. Only in him are we saved from the trends of this world, from the emptiness of sin, from the lies of the devil, from our own fallenness and weakness. Christians know that we need the Lord Jesus to help us, convert us and walk with us.
How can inquiries into Eastern or New Age spiritualities complement this total assent to Jesus Christ? It would seem that something of the Christian conviction would have to be lessened or compromised. It is almost as if to say that Jesus is good and he can help us, but he isn’t enough; that there are some other spiritual approaches and deities out there that might be able to help us, or even help us more; that Jesus isn’t everything, and we have to look into other things; that maybe we can find God or ourselves better in something or in someone else.
This diminishing of belief is contrary to the teachings of Jesus and of the eternal plan of God for humanity and for each person. I believe this because I am Christian, and I assent to the truths of the Christian religion: Jesus is enough.
It is worth periodically reminding ourselves of what being a disciple of the Lord Jesus is truly about.
In saying Jesus is Lord, we say that he is everything; in him alone is our salvation and hope.
Father Kirby is the parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians parish in Aiken. Visit www.jeffrey-kirby.com.