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 (Manna 10)
A Call and Invitation of Love (The Gospel of Jesus)
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A Call and Invitation of Love (The Gospel of Jesus)

Yenzen Tsai

Anxiety, bewilderment, pain, and despair that characterize the modern man are primarily originated from a loss of self-assurance and an ambiguity of life purpose. Fear is the key word that best summarizes the predicament of our present existence. We remain anxious, because we cannot be sure how long we can maintain our job and position. We are fearful, because our most beloved may leave us for good at any moment. We are also scared, because our physical life may be endangered by any possible accident, either at home or in travel. Life is thus filled with uncertainties. t offers no guarantees. We have nothing substantial or affirmative in our hands. The next moment is always dangling in the air. Life seems a riddle, unsolvable and unpredictable. To many it is not unlike groping in a long, dark tunnel, the experience of which is nothing but an accumulation of hardship and hopelessness.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a language of love, reaching out to those who are perplexed and despondent. It reminds us of the intimate relationship between God and humanity. It reveals the way by which we reach God the Father and, hence, assurance of life (Jn 14:1-5; 15:1-8). It takes away our fear as though lifting us up from a deep ravine and releasing us onto a wide pasture where we can move comfortably. “Take heart, it is I; hove no fear” (Mt 14:27). Jesus’ calling is most clearly heard whenever we are enshrouded by doubt, disturbance, or even despair. It is like the parent’s strong arms which firmly embrace the child who has been lost but found.

To be free from fear presupposes an attentive mind that reacts to Jesus’ calling responsively and agilely. Our prolonged suffering in many cases is due to our slow reaction. For some, their sensibility has been so blunted that they would even take their long-term suffering as port of life reality. Apathy thus becomes standard expression. Jesus Christ, however, takes human misfortune to Himself to the greatest extent. He is concerned about us! He cores! He empathizes His being with human suffering in totality (Mk 9:19). His salvific activities so devotedly carried out are a manifestation of this love (Mk 3:20). To those who are lost and fearful, He cannot but call aloud: “Come to me!” (Jn 7:37).

By coming to Jesus, we may witness how this Son of God devotes Himself into actualizing His love toward humanity, in word as well as in deed. Through Him, we may also unload oil the burdens, either spiritual or physical, to enjoy real peace under the tempest of life.

The gospel of Jesus is a call of love. It invites the bewildered and perplexed us to participate in this love. The parables of Jesus are formulated in such a way that enable us to identify with the characters in the stories. This identification is meant to awake us from bewilderment and uncertainty and force us to recognize our true identity as well as to understand God’s love. To fulfill this God-humanity intimacy we hove to listen carefully to the stories and make wise and immediate decisions upon hearing. Henceforth, you are the very lost sheep in The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Lk 15:3-7) who hove been hopelessly wandering in the wilderness and waiting for the arrival of the shepherd. But, you are also the shepherd himself who, unwilling even to lose the least of his sheep, has been searching desperately for this lost sheep. Again, you are the lost son in The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32) who has been allured into worldly entanglement but, at the some time, is looking for absolution. But, you are also the father of this prodigal son who, harboring unfathomable love, has been waiting at the doorpost for his son’s return. Further, you are the fallen victim in The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) who has been beaten up and left in despair. But, you are also the good Samaritan who, urged by pity and compassion, stretches out his hands to aid the wretched victim.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is thus on expression of love. It is a calling for those who ore entrapped by fear and uncertainty. Ills also an invitation for those who are perplexed and disheartened. It calls, calling us to return. It invites, inviting us to participate.

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Author: Yenzen Tsai