How attractive are you? are we?
How well do we attract people…to Jesus Christ?
Pope Francis repeated what Pope Benedict said… we need to be a church of attraction, that people need to see in us the living Faith in Jesus Christ so that they too will come to him.
We must invite people into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and not impose it.
Jesus says the same thing, in a different way in the gospel.
Think of it. He is inviting those fisherman to become fishers of people.
Now, I love to fish, fly fish specifically.
Catching fish is all about having the correct bait, or the correct fly, and with fly fishing especially that fly has to be attractive to the fish, presented in such a way that the fish will take it.
Then with the hook set, reel it in. There is nothing like catching a fish on a fly rod. It is really frustrating to watch a beautiful trout come to up a fly look at it and then swim away: Wrong fly, bad presentation.
Jesus wants us to attract people to him.
Jesus wants us to be people that attract others.
Jesus calls us to present ourselves to others, so that others may see Christ in us, then come to Jesus and be free.
People were attracted to him in his life. They came to him because they saw something different about him. They experienced something new, and authority unlike anything they had ever experienced.
He did not threaten them, dupe them with empty promises of money, power, riches. No, He listened, he forgave, he healed, he loved. This was how he attracted people. This was his bait, his lure.
It came from his core, his faith in the love of the Father.
We are called to do the same, to be attractive Catholics. We are called to attract others to Jesus, so that they can experience Salvation.
I also think that we need to ask ourselves what personally attracts us to Jesus. I am not talking about the institution of the Catholic Church, because Popes Benedict and Francis were clear about that too. I am talking why do we follow Jesus Christ?
I say this because if we cannot answer this for ourselves, then how are we going to express it to others? How will we attract others? In fishing terms…we need the correct bait.
Those first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John, clearly they found something attractive in Jesus, and followed him. Yet, they had to spend some time with him, and then eventually experience his death and resurrection for them to comprehend.
It was after that event, and the coming the Holy Spirit, they themselves were able to go out and attract others to Jesus. They had to believe.
So what attracts us to Jesus Christ? To the way of Jesus?
Is it the deep, simple, elegant wisdom of life that he brings, that shows us how to live as free men and women in the world today?
Is is the offer of heaven and eternity? Is it the promise of community? Is it the reality of forgiveness and mercy?
Is it love?
I think for each of us, we have our own personal answers. My answer will not be the same as yours, as I have had a different journey of life and yours is different than mine.
Here is the catch (pun intended)…when we can really answer that question, “what attracts us to Jesus”…not only will others be attracted…our own experience of Jesus will change. It will improve! Because our faith life becomes one of ownership…we will own our faith.
No longer will it be something we have to do, or something we do to keep our moms and dads happy…but because we want to.
And again, that will show to others. When they see us willingly being gentle with others, patient with others; When they see us will to forgive and ask for forgiveness; When they witness us giving of ourselves for the good of others; When they witness us not being driven by the winds of chaos…
They will want the same, the same salvation, the same freedom.
They will be attracted to Jesus, by our lives. They will come to the table with us, responding out of love, and being changed.