Why did Jesus come? Why is He the Savior? I read this earlier today and it’s been gnawing at me and I couldn’t understand why. Now I do. It’s what is not said, what’s left out, and which very importantly completes the story, the Gospel. That little thingy about how our unrepented sinfulness will lead to eternal damnation in Hell, how the sacrifice of Jesus redeems us from Hell, and allows us to get to Heaven, and how this is the goal of the Church and a life lived accordingly as a true Christian, doing our best to imitate Jesus, the way, the Truth and the Life. Has that become so offensive that the Pope, bishops and priests can no longer say this for fear of offending?
The Church today does not give the whole story. Without the understanding of Hell and how we get there and how we can hope to avoid that end, and how we NEED Jesus to be our Savior, we have nothing more than another mushy therapy session. This is why the pews are emptying out as they have, why men particularly don’t come, why the unconverted world doesn’t care, why those raised culturally Christian don’t know much or care about being real Christians.
This is not the Church that conquered the Roman Empire, built civilizations in the East and West and spread throughout the world. If people are going to accept Jesus as the Savior, they must know and understand what He is saving them from and what that means to them. This is not the Church Militant. This is the Church Neutered, the Church of We Don’t Want To Hurt Your Feelings. It’s almost as if most of those in positions of authority in the Church don’t believe the Faith as Truth. And what people get is a smarmy therapy session that they don’t think they need and quickly ignore, like most half-empty churches everywhere show.
I have copied the text below wherein Pope Francis is quoted at length and my comments are in blue.
“Commenting on the Gospel of the day (Mark 3:7-12), which tells of great crowds rushing to Jesus from every region, Pope Francis said that the people of God see in the Lord “a hope, because His way of acting, teaching, touches their heart, reaches the heart, because it has the power of the Word of God”:
“The people feel this, and see that promises are fulfilled in Jesus, that in Jesus there is hope. The people were a bit bored by the way of teaching the faith, by the teachers of the Law of that time, who burdened the shoulders of the people with so many commandments, so many precepts, but did not come to people’s hearts. And when the people see Jesus and hear Jesus – His proposals, the Beatitudes – they feel something moving inside – it is the Holy Spirit that is causing people to stir – and they go to see Jesus.”
Purity of intention in seeking God
The crowd goes to Jesus to be healed: that is, they seek their own good. “Never,” said Pope Francis, “can we follow God with purity of intention right from the start: it is always a search undertaken a little for us, and a little for God – and the journey itself purifies this intention.” The Pope went on to say, “People go, yes, they look for God, but they also look for health, for healing – and they threw themselves upon Him to touch Him, that some power might go out of Him and heal them.”
[Is this always true? My own experience has been seeking God, finding Him, and first and foremost, just worshipping Him for He is the Creator and I am just the creature. I have asked for healing at times but more for spiritual healing as I am a sinful creature. Over the years, I have prayed for physical healing for others but only once or twice for myself. I pray also for many other needs and the needs of others. Even if I could not obtain salvation, even if He refused my prayers, I still must worship and adore Him. That’s first and foremost. I also believe that this is still the First Commandment.
The constant harping on the miserableness and woundedness of people is really a turn-off when it is just about always devoid of acknowledging God as the Creator, without a mention of his Awesomeness, His Grandeur, His Omniscience, His Omnipotency. Pope Francis and so many bishops these days sound like the school or pop psychologists pushing their therapeutic mush on people who aren’t that bad off and don’t see themselves that messed up, like trying to talk a person out of committing suicide who wasn’t and would never even think of committing suicide.]
The most important thing, however, is not that Jesus healed. Those healings were a sign of another healing, the Holy Father explained. Nor is the fact that Jesus says words that reach the heart the most important thing – though that certainly helps to meet God. The most important thing is in the Letter to the Hebrews (7:25), where it is written, “Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.”:
[Saves from ill health? Saves from WHAT?]
“Jesus saves!” said Pope Francis. “These healings, these words that reach the heart, are the sign and the beginning of salvation – the path of salvation for many who begin to go to hear Jesus or to ask for a healing and then come back to Him and feel salvation.” He went on to ask, “What, though, is most important? That Jesus heals? No, that is not the most important thing. That He teaches us? That is not the most important thing [either]. [The most important thing] is that He saves! He is the Savior and we are saved by him: this is the most important thing, and this is the strength of our faith.”
[Saves from WHAT? Bad germs, bad psychological problems? WHAT?]
Jesus ascended to the Father, “and from thence He continues to intercede, every day, every moment for us.”:
“This is relevant today. Jesus stands before the Father, offering His life – the redemption – He shows His wounds to the Father, the price of salvation – and so it is that every day, Jesus intercedes. When we, for one thing or the other, are feeling a little down, let us remember that it is He who prays for us, intercedes for us continually. So many times we forget this: ‘Jesus … but yes, it’s finished, he’s gone to heaven, sent us the Holy Spirit, the story’s over.’ No! Even now, in every moment, Jesus intercedes. In this prayer: ‘Lord Jesus, only have mercy on me,’ He intercedes for me. Turn to the Lord, asking for this intercession.”
[I am to ask Jesus to have mercy on me, but WHY? What is the point of Jesus’ redemption for me and others? Why are His wounds the price of salvation? Salvation from WHAT?]
The “sensitivity” of the people of God
That Jesus is savior and intercessor is the central point, and we do well to remember this. “Thus, the crowd seeks Jesus with that instinctive sense of hope that is proper to the people of God, which was at that time awaiting the Messiah, and they look to find in Him health, truth, salvation, for He is the Savior and as Savior even now, at this moment, intercedes for us. That our Christian life might be ever more convinced that we are saved, that we have a Savior, Jesus at the right hand of the Father, interceding. May the Lord, the Holy Spirit, make us understand these things.””
[Convinced that we are saved, that we have a Savior, but we still don’t know or hear WHY and FROM WHAT? May the Holy Spirit make us understand these things but not why we would want to understand these things and the ultimate point of these things?]
How about telling people, showing people, the awesomeness of God, explaining and showing them how God in His Mercy gave us Jesus, and how His sacrifice opened up Heaven again for us so that we might be with Him for eternity? Does anyone hear this anymore from those in the Church ordained to teach the Faith? I rarely do and even more rarely from Pope Francis. Why?