The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, and gave himself up for each one of us (see 478). Which means that from the moment Christ is conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus is loving us and giving himself to us personally. He is calling to our hearts, wooing us with all his tenderness.At this very moment, the aged Simeon stands at his post in the temple… vigilant… filled with expectation… looking for Mary’s baby. Once the infant Jesus appears, no one will need to tell Simeon that this is the One he has been waiting for all his life.
For five years already a lame man has been lying by the sheep pool in Bethesda, too weak to hoist himself into the stirred up waters. Even now, Jesus begins his approach to him. It will be thirty-three years more before Christ stands beside the man, but even now he asks him the question we are all aching to hear: “Do you want to be healed?”
Any day now a mother and a father will give birth to a little girl who will grow up to acquire a bleeding disease that will baffle all doctors and afflict her for twelve years. Even now, Jesus is pitying her, healing her, and calling her “daughter.”
Who can say how long the leper has lived alone, lurking in the shadows? Yet even now something has happened that will not allow his tortured heart to give way to despair. So even now, from a distance, he starts searching the faces in every crowd, certain that some day Someone will appear to whom he will beg, “Sir, if you will to do so, you can cure me!”
At the moment, the woman destined to be the Gospel’s famous widow is a beautiful young maiden newly betrothed. She spends all her passion in preparing for her wedding – for the day she will be a bride. Yet the days of her marriage will not last long. And with the death of her husband, she will spend her life loving others with a total gift of self. Even now Jesus the Bridegroom is watching, commending her for giving all she has to live on.
Even now Bartimaeus in the abyss of his blindness is crying from his misery, “Son of David! Have pity on me!” The child born in the city of David is readying even now to restore his sight.
Even now Jesus is settling on the tree up which Zacchaeus will scurry. Even now Jesus plans to stop, and look up, and call Zacchaeus from his limb. Even now Jesus is promising him, “I mean to stay with you today.”
At this point in time, the Samaritan woman at the well has not yet married Husband Number One. Little does she know that she will have five husbands and another man besides. But even now Jesus is appealing to the thirst that is her life and promising to slake it with the gift of his very self.
Even now the mere lad Matthew hasn’t any idea about what he will be when he grows up. What leads him one ill-fated day to betray his religion, his nation, and himself in becoming a tax collector we will never know. But even now Jesus is making his way to Matthew’s tax collecting post and summoning him from his heart with the words, “Follow me.”
Even now something makes the centurion restless, uneasy. He cannot truly be himself until he professes, “This man was the Son of God!”
Just about now the little boy Peter is beginning to learn how to fish from his father. But even now Jesus sees him on the seashore and summons him to be a fisher of men. Even now Jesus is forgiving his sins and calling Peter “Rock.”
Even now Jesus is silently beckoning us all: Come to me, you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Your souls will find rest in me. I am gentle and humble of heart. Do not live in fear. I have come that you might have life and have it to the full. If anyone thirsts, let him come to me. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. I am the Bread of Life. I call you friends. I am with you always.
Even now a wondrous star has arisen in the heavens of the far-off East. Even now Magi have left all else behind, and have begun to make their way to a manger, following a path laid out by the shining star’s luster. Let us go with them.
Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P.