Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The God of Jacob Has Sent Me To You

Last Saturday my sister got married.  In the morning my family was buzzing about and getting everything
ready for the celebration.  My mother appointed me to drive into town in order to pick up the cake and bring it to the banquet hall for the reception.  Along the way, I made a stop at Wal-Mart and on my way out of the store, I notice people at a table handing out materials about how to correctly interpret the Bible.  I got a little excited!  Too many people aren’t willing to talk about religion or their faith beliefs, so here was my opportunity to have an interesting conversation!  I strode over before asking them which denomination they represented.  They identified themselves as Jehovah Witnesses.  I told them that I was studying to be a Roman Catholic priest.  The conversation got interesting real fast.

There are two things I admire about the Jehovah Witnesses.  First, they’re willing to proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior from the roof tops.  They aren’t afraid to use words when necessary.  I admire that zeal for evangelization.  Second, they strongly affirm that God has personally revealed Himself to humanity even giving Moses His personal name by which he wants to be known.  In fact, that’s why they’re called Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Jehovah is their pronunciation of the Hebrew Yahweh.  They strongly affirm that God is knowable and personable.

But if the Jehovah Witnesses already believe in God, why should I go and talk with them and share with them my Catholic Faith?  Jehovah Witnesses and Catholics have very fundamental differences.  Catholics say that God is a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: three persons in one God.  The Jehovah Witnesses deny that; they don’t think that Jesus Christ was God.  So why debate with the Jehovah Witnesses about the divinity of Jesus?  Because the Jehovah Witnesses believe that God is knowable and personable.

While the Incarnation makes God all the more transcendent and mysterious; it also makes Him all the more knowable.  That the Son of the Father could assume a human nature is incredible and incomprehensible.  At the same time, the Invisible Word of God, by the incarnation, is translated into a human language.  The personality of the Son takes a human expression that we can understand.  The truths of the Catholic faith complete and perfect the truths found in other religions and Christian denominations.  The Catholic Church contains the fullness of the truth for which every human heart is longing.  I tried to evangelize the Jehovah Witnesses because God has given me something to share with them.

This is exactly what’s happening when God reveals His name to Moses.  God reveals His name to Moses and then sends him to the Israelites so that they might worship the one, true God.  God gives Moses a truth to share so that Israel might have a more personal relationship with their heavenly Father.  As Christians, we are called to share, not simply the name of God, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped at.  Rather, he emptied Himself, taking the form of the slave… obedient to death, even death on the Cross” (Phil 2:6-8).  You see, God so loved the world that He gave His own life to redeem us.  We need to go out into the world and preach that love.

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