People often wonder, why doesn’t the youth go to Church and what is wrong with young people and their faith. In fact, as I write this, there is a month-long Synod in Rome going over just this issue.
We should always listen to the youth, they have a fresh perspective and I am all for bringing the youth back to Church, but I’m not the youth. I’m going to write about the people I know. I run with the suburban parents. I live in Suburbia. Many of my parental friends don’t go to Church, so its not shocking to me that their children don’t go to Church.
In my circles, I engage those that are willing to listen regarding their faith. I try and press and see what happens, and I’ve gotten deep into some conversations with many a fellow Mom or Dad. Its my way of evangelizing.
These parents are good people. I really like my town and the parents here. Sure, some of us are crazy and not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but these are generally happy people. We have good lives, good children, nice cars and houses. That’s my circle. We’re all basically middle class, but some friends of mine do have some really nice houses.
Life is good.
I can say to a fellow Dad, eat right, exercise and you’ll feel great. I can say, work hard, be confident and you’ll get ahead. If I say, love Jesus, you’ll….(that’s hard to explain to someone that thinks life is good).
There are some that will say that loving Jesus will give you joy, but loving Jesus doesn’t mean there won’t be hardship. I don’t know a Mom that if I say, “Jesus brings joy to your life,” that she will just start smiling and won’t stop. Its hard to just convince someone that your life will be joyful if you love Jesus. Talking about Heaven is too abstract for many as well.
So, here is my attempt at why you need Jesus:
First, God (Holy Trinity) is involved. If you call out to the Father, He will hear your prayer and He will act – if He wants. If you ask God to let you win the lottery, that doesn’t mean He’ll grant your wish, rather, He knows what’s best; there are plenty of people whose lives have been ruined by the lottery. If you ask for a promotion and you don’t get it, loving Jesus means it doesn’t matter. Think about it, if you want a promotion and you don’t get it, you’re going to be mad. If you love Jesus and trust in Him, not getting the promotion is His will and the disappointment is easily dealt with. God has a reason. Maybe there’s someone else who needs the promotion more, maybe you’d turn into a jerk with the power, maybe that team would get laid off in a year, who knows…God knows. Loving God, loving Jesus turns this life from a panic filled world to a calm ocean, knowing there’s a loving, active God in our lives is comfort.
Here’s a quick example of God’s plan. Thomas Merton was traveling through the back country of France when disaster struck. He developed a tooth ache that devolved into a serious infection. His mouth was infected and he began to run a fever. He managed to make it to a small medical facility in Italy that subsequently pulled out a few teeth, let his infection drain and nursed him back to health. This was a hard time for Merton. Years later while living in America, Merton contemplated a life as a monk when war broke out and he was told to report to a medical evaluation prior to be drafted into WWII. Merton decided God would guide him, if he went to war, life as a monk would be gone but if somehow God could steer him from the war, he’d enter the monastery as he desired. Merton turned it all over to God. At the evaluation, the doctor took one look at his mouth and said, “this man doesn’t have enough teeth to be fit as a solider.” Why was Merton struck ill and had his teeth pulled, because God had a plan, one that led Merton to Him. God has a plan, and only He knows it…and thank God for it. We have a God that can strike you ill 10 years prior, just to save you today – that’s an awesomely involved God.
Second, life is good….or is it. Is mankind so great? You only have to look up just a little to see the world around you. Watch the nightly news, or surf through foxnews.com for a bit and tell me if life is so good. Death surrounds us, we’re just immune to it. When we stop thinking we don’t need to ask Jesus for protection, then you’re not paying attention. I worry about my girls, but I can’t protect them all the time, but Mother Mary hears my prayers and She intercedes. I can’t protect my girls, but Jesus can, and I take comfort in knowing that Jesus is really doing just that thing, protecting my girls. (I don’t just take comfort in believing that Jesus is watching them, but rather that He is actually watching them).
Third, there is a joy to loving Jesus. It’s hard to explain, but its like a good friend that’s always listening. When you feel low, Jesus will pop up for comfort, provided you know Him and His call. You have to try and get to know Jesus, and when you do, you’ll see His loving Grace and His Providence everywhere.
Fourth, if you travel far from Jesus, deeper and deeper into sin, you’ll not hear His call. You’ll not hear His warnings and you may find yourself worse off. If you drive recklessly, you may get home ok. If you continue to drive recklessly, you may be ok for a while. If you drive recklessly, don’t be surprised if you get hurt. Same applies with Jesus, the farther you travel from Jesus and His ways, you may be ok for a while, but it is reckless and it will catch up to you. Justice from the sinful man is demanded – often here on earth.
Finally, without Jesus, life has no point. Sorry, it doesn’t. I heard some group that really wanted everyone to be an atheist. Their slogan was, “Stop worrying, God doesn’t exist.” I’d be terrified knowing that God doesn’t exist. Life would be just one experience to the next, each more fleeting than the last, knowing it all ends in death and nothingness. Life without God is a bubble. Life with God means there’s more to life than this one. Life has a purpose, but without God, life has no purpose, it ends and then nothing.
I want to stress here that loving Jesus doesn’t mean all will be ok, we still live in this broken world. Loving Jesus and trusting in Him makes this world bearable. There’s a plan, God is in charge and He wants what is best for us.
To answer my question as to why you need Jesus, here is my summation. If you love Jesus you can find true peace. No matter what happens in this world, you’ll know the Lord is watching and He wants what’s best for you. Take a deep breath and relax, God’s in charge.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mat 11:28-30