This Holy Week I was reminded of my days working on my Masters in Theology. In particular, I recalled our final paper in Christology. We were to answer the question Christ posed to Peter: “Who do YOU (my emphasis) say that I am?” It was an exercise not as easy as I thought it would be.
However, it’s perhaps an exercise that all Christians should do every so often to inentory their faith.
During my conversion to Catholicism as a young adult (25 years old), there was a particular author whose writings influenced my own understanding and relationship with The Son of Man. Brennan Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel” gave me a deeper understanding of grace and that all my “narcissistic pursuits of spiritual perfection” could not win me the favor of God: It had already been given to me through His Son. Regardless of our pasts — and Manning had quite the past — redemption is available.
Powerful. As the old hymn goes, “saved a wretch like me.” Yes, a wretch. A spiritual “ragamuffin.” Love and favor has already been given to me.
As we enter this Easter season — a celebration of the promise of resurrection for all of us — I am mindful of the suffering and sacrifice that led the way to the resurrection. If, as Christians, we’re unable to know the meaning and purpose of His Passion, we’re missing something as we go through our own struggles: He not only knows our struggles and pain; He lived it. And the fact that He did it for the world should leave us in awe.
Life is tough. And often “life” can get in the way of “living.” My prayer this Easter is for all who feel abandoned, know you’re not. For all who feel unworthy, well guess what: All of us are “unworthy” of God’s favor. But it does not matter. Favor was earned for us on the cross.
Who do you say that He is?
I’ve never heard it quite explained like this, but it’s a description that could only perhaps be told by a “Ragamuffin.” That person is Brennan Manning and I would encourage all to consider the suffering and resurrected Christ in this light:
May you and yours have a Blessed Easter by experiencing His love and resurrection.