Jesus asked the disciples who He was and Peter responded: “You are the Christ!”  Who is Jesus for you? If He is truly God, the Son of the living God, your Savior, and Redeemer, the Way, The Truth and the Life, then it should be the goal and determining effort of our entire life to draw closer to Him. If done in this short time of our life, He will be ours for all eternity!   We offer five clear ways that our union with Jesus can grow stronger day after day so that He will be our prize in heaven!

1.    MORTAL ENEMY NUMBER 1: AVOID SIN!   That which damages our relationship with Jesus more than anything else is sin.  Mortal sin ruptures our relationship with Jesus; it severs it.  He said I am the vine and you are the branches.  The branches separated from the vine will wither and die and be thrown into the fire. I have called you to bring forth fruit and fruit in abundance. (Jn. 15  Jesus’ teaching on the Vine and the Branches). Venial sin chills and weakens our Friendship with Jesus.  Good News!  Merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and quick to forgive, Jesus will always forgive you if you ask for forgiveness and done though the Sacrament of Confession! Trust in His mercy!

2.    KNOW HIM!   St. Jerome, the Biblical scholar and writer, reminds us:  “Ignorance of Sacred Scripture is ignorance of Christ!”  We cannot love anybody that we do not know!  Get to know the Lord by reading slowly, meditating, by pondering the Word of God every day. Start with one of the Gospels: Mathew, Mark, Luke, or John.   Jesus responded to the devil who insisted on Jesus turning stones to bread:  “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Find a time, a place and silence every day to dig into the infinite treasures of the Word of God!   You will never regret it!

3.    VISIT YOUR FRIEND!    In every Catholic Church Jesus is truly “present” in His little home which is called the Tabernacle. The word “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread”.   Visit your church and draw close to the “Little House of Bethlehem” (The Tabernacle).  Renew your faith in “His Real Presence”--- that Jesus is truly and Substantially Present in the Consecrated Host in the Tabernacle in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.   Then in the most simple, humble, reverential and friendly manner, open up your heart and talk to Him.  Jesus is your Good Shepherd, Your Companion, Your Doctor and Healer, your Nourishment as Bread of Life, Your, Way, Truth, and Life.  He is your Best Friend and your lover!   Tell Him absolutely everything that is on your mind and in your heart.   Your fears, anxieties, worries, pains and sufferings, insecurities and uncertainties, as well as your joys and dreams, successes and moments of glory.  Jesus is the Best of Friends but also He is the best of listeners. Every word you say He listens to attentively as if you were the only person in the world. Even the most secret and hidden movements of your heart are clear to Him as the sun in the sky at 12 noon!  The Lord is waiting for you--- come!  “Come to me all of you who are weary and I will give you rest; for I am meek and humble of heart. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)

4.     RECEIVE YOUR FRIEND INTO YOUR HOME.   Better than visiting Jesus your Friend, is to open up the doors of your heart and to receive the “Divine Guest” into your interior home, your heart and soul!  How is this done? Very simply by attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, participating fully, actively and consciously.  The culminating moment of Holy Mass, the moment of the union of the best of lovers, occurs in Holy Communion!   Receive the Lord Jesus with the best of dispositions!  With faith, humility, hunger and thirst, with burning love and fervor of spirit--- these should be the noble dispositions of heart and soul that should characterize the true lover or Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life.     Recall the saying of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta:  “Receive Jesus in Holy Communion as if it were the first time, the last time and the only time!”   Your “Best of Friends” is waiting for you!   “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  Whoever opens the door to me; I will sit down at the table and dine with him and he with me.”  (Rev. 3)  If a King were to come to your home, what an extraordinary privilege!  But what about the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords knocking at the door of your home!!!!   Open up and receive!

5.     SHARE YOUR TREASURE WITH OTHERS!   The Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, will start October 11, 2012 and conclude on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 24, 2013.    In the Apostolic Letter of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father challenges the world at large to strive to attain a real, true and personal relationship with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus is not simply a mythical and abstract historical entity that lived 2000 years ago in a foreign and distant country.  He is not a museum piece; nor simply a plaster-statue!  Jesus is real and alive through the power of His Resurrection!   As a result of our encountering this treasure in the Real Person of Jesus Christ, rejoicing and fully consoled with His Friendship, then the Pope challenges us to go out of ourselves and to be launched into the whole world and bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to every living creature.  “Go out to all nations and teach them all that I taught you, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and behold I am with you always even until the end of the world.” (Mt 28:19-20)  In other words, the Holy Father summons all of us who have encountered the treasure of the Friendship of Jesus, that we have discovered in a personal way, to share Him with others.  Indeed one of the best ways to grow in our faith is to share our faith with others.   May Our Lady, whose friendship and deep union with Jesus was firm and constantly growing, attain for us in this “Year of faith” the deepest union with Jesus, who is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life!