Are you aware of Christ’s presence? As disciples, it is essential that we have a connection to Christ. We must always be aware of his presence. So, what makes that difficult? What are problems in the modern world that make it difficult to see the reality of Christ? Mike “Gomer” Gormley tackles these questions and more in today’s episode.
Snippet from the Show
The world obscures our vision of the Church and of Christ.
This week’s question:
What is the problem for which Catholic Discipleship is the solution?
There is a crisis in the Church today. We all know this. Hans Urs von Balthasar, in his last televised interview, was asked “Where are the emergencies in the Church today?” And he responded, “The emergencies are everywhere. They are everywhere.”
Two Questions of Frank Sheed:
Why come to Mass? What is Jesus up to right now?
A survey by Frank Sheed of the articles penned by Catholic priests who left the priesthood in droves saw that they attacked the institutional Church for injustice, cowardliness, for not serving the poor, etc., but not a single one mentioned Jesus Christ. He was not a factor in their deconstructing discipleship calculus.
For most of us, Christ is not alive. This episode is not an examination of conscience, but of consciousness, that is, of our awareness of Jesus Christ.
Quotations and Sources
“He entered the Heavenly places on our behalf” (Hebrews 10:
“He never ceases to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:
“Strange Phenomenon: Christians who believe in Jesus sincerely, who try to live by Christ’s standards, would rather die than deny Him, yet we do not spend much time with him or involve him in our daily living. We do not seek to meet him in the gospels. We would find it hard to figure out the actual difference Jesus makes in our lives” (Frank Sheed).
How Modernity Dims Christ
- Modern sciences encourage a purely materialistic view of the universe. There is no consideration for the divine.
- Radical, moral, and political disunity cause a rejection of Christ.
- The never-ending use of technology pulls us from contemplation, conversation, and communion with others, including God.
- The annihilation of the family means that there is little heritage, little rootedness, and little that is passed on and handed down, both in terms of culture and religion.
How Our View of Christ Can Be Obscured in the Church
- Failure of the hierarchy
- Scriptural scholarship undermining the historical reality of Scripture
- Widespread confusion on Liturgy
What Happens When We Reduce Jesus to an Abstraction
When we reduce Jesus to an abstraction, it tends to take 3 courses: Reduction to Kindness, and Reduction to Neighborness, or it remains a Theological Diagram.
- Kindness means Jesus is never angry, never stern, never joyous, never rebuking, never sad. Kindness is one of his traits, but not his only trait. Just ask the Pharisees or the moneychangers in the Temple. Now, Jesus didn’t only drive out money changers, but too often we ignore in our abstractions of Jesus just how human God was.
- Neighborness means that I’m here to find Jesus in my neighbor. Well, that’s great if it propels me to love my neighbor and serve my neighbor as I ought, as a salvation/damnation issue that Jesus taught, and not just a pleasant dismissal of contending with the real Christ. Also, if you are looking for Jesus in your neighbor, and you don’t read the Gospels, which Jesus are you looking for? One that looks remarkably like yourself? Another problem here is that it sounds loving to find Christ in your neighbor, but surely studying and knowing Christ is the most powerful way to equip you to find him in your neighbor?
- Theological Diagram. This is for those who reduce our Lord to a series of doctrinal propositions and articles of Faith. The dogmas and doctrines of Christianity teach the truth of Jesus, but even the Creed does not suffice for Christianity unless it is in the heart of the Mass, with the Gospel proclaimed right before it. Too often we have these precise Aristotelian categories- which, again are good and true- but we think we can get to know Christ by studying more about divine nature and human nature. Rather than spending time getting to know his deeds, what he said, whom he spoke with and whom he healed and what their reactions were. This can be dangerous because we believe the orthodox things but lose touch with the Son of God himself.
Ponder These Things from Mike
“Discipleship is not just about believing in Christ. Discipleship is about following Christ.”
“Christianity is not just a list of beliefs. It is a way of life. It is a practice.”
“Discipleship starts with a question, ‘What was Jesus like?’ It pursues that answer by turning to the Gospels and turning to prayer.”
“We need to know what Jesus was like so that we can imitate him.”
“We only follow those whom we love.”
“The dogmas and doctrines of Christianity teach the truth of Jesus. However, even the Creed doesn’t suffice for Christianity unless it’s joined at the heart of the Mass with the Gospel.”
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Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.
He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts two popular Catholic podcasts: Catching Foxes and Every Knee Shall Bow.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.