Blog & Pastor Letters

Promoting the Face of Jesus in the World

02-06-2022Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

While visiting the St. Paul’s Cathedral London, I felt the power of God speaking to my heart. I tried to explain my feelings to my group but one of them pointed out that the cathedral does not belong to the Catholic Church. I laughed and I immediately thought about how we try to classify God based on denominational connections. Although the cathedral church is not Catholic, it does not stop Jesus from manifesting his power among those who call upon his name. The feeling I had while I was at the St. Paul’s Cathedral was a feeling of the presence of God. The music was inspirational; it sent me into thinking about my purpose in life.

Identifying our purpose in life is the prerogative of everyone. Jesus came to help us in that regard. The healing of Simon’s mother-in-law is a favor done by Jesus to Simon due to his connection to Jesus. However, it does not mean that the healing was only for his friends. The reading tells us how he cured others of their diseases and casting demons from them. People began to flock to Jesus and his disciples could not cope. Peter had to interrupt the meditation of Jesus by saying, “Everyone is looking for you.” Jesus replied, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come!” These words from Jesus himself give us hope that nobody can reduce him to their own side and deny him to others.

The world today needs Jesus to cure us of our stereotypes. The things that stop us from seeing the good in others is due to the mindset we have formulated. Jesus does not consider our history before he heals. Rather, he wants our hearts to be filled with love. He leads by example by leading always. By curing the mother-in-law of Simon alongside those in the town, he brought them under God’s banner of love. As Christians living in the world today, it is our responsibility to show the face of Jesus to the world by our good deeds so that men and women can give glory to our heavenly Father.

There is one person among many others in history who did not want to promote the face of Jesus in the world. He has become popular and beautiful cathedrals and churches are named after him. His name is St. Paul. He was not a Christian at the beginning. He persecuted the Christians and imprisoned as many as he could. His conversion brought him into the Christian faith, and he became an ardent preacher of the gospel of Jesus.

He says, “If I preach the gospel, this is the reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.” From these words, we can sense the purpose of St. Paul’s new life in preaching Christ to the world. He achieved his mission because the bible has sixteen letters attributed to him and in them, we read his great encounters with agents of darkness.

What the world needs today are men and women who can stop their stereotypical mindsets and imbibe values of love for people not in their camp. This is not an easy endeavor, but it is rewarding on the long run. St. Paul learnt from Jesus, and he went out of his comfort zone teaching the ways of God. St. Paul is noted as a topmost evangelist and many cathedrals and churches are named after him in recognition of his contributions to improving peoples’ purposeful living.

The St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is way too beautiful to compare with our parish church of St. Paul’s in Phoenix, but the underlining importance of both places relates to the gospel of Jesus. These churches are places where we can teach many people to reduce their stereotypes and work with others to expand God’s kingdom here on earth. Above all, these are places we find our healing because Jesus wants to cure us and give us a second chance to go into the world and revive others as well. I felt this at the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and I feel it when I celebrate Mass in our humble parish.

The message to all Christians on this day is about meditating on our true purpose in life in relation to our world. The story of Job makes us remember that everyone suffers humiliation. Job says, “So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, ‘When shall I arise? Then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until dawn.” This description of Job’s misery relates to our miseries when conditions do not add up to our expectations. We twist and toss on our beds waiting for the morning dew to bless us with new hope. The answers can be found in seeking the face of Jesus who came to define the true meaning of love. And love makes us to touch others with our kindness, reducing their misery and pain by making them realize that God cares. An act of kindness, therefore, is a way to show the true face of Jesus to the world. Everyone can find Jesus, not only in the gothic style St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or in our parish church of St. Paul’s, but anywhere we listen to God speak to our hearts. Will you be an apostle of love to the world? Keep praying!