Jesus desires to be everyone's personal friend. He desires, moreover, to be everyone's personal Savior. But, as the old saying goes, 'No man is an island.' For Jesus is best known through His Church. And, like the Holy Trinity, Jesus desires our friendship, and our salvation, in Communion, or community. Love, agape love, is the Cross of self-sacrifice, or self giving. The Church, the communion of saints, and sinners struggling in grace to become saints, is the community where love is first realized--and then evangelized (shared with the world).
But this can only be done if we rid ourselves of the American pantheon of false gods.
"And we are in the one who is true,
in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols." 1 John 5:14-21
Jesus may be 'the way, the truth, and the life,' but, sometimes, it would be hard to detect from the priorities of the American Catholic (or 'Christian'). American's worship success, and those extremely successful. Oddly, the one's they worship are the ones they are most jealous of, and the one's they gawk at when they are embroiled in life-destroying scandal. America is the land of the big, the bold, and the beautiful. At least on His Cross, Jesus didn't appear so big, so bold, or so beautiful.
And that is why the Paschal Mystery is unappealing to so many big, bold, and beautiful American Catholics (and 'Christians'). Think empty church, and anti-christian behaviors.
"Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory." Psalm 149:1-6, 9
So, what does this have to do with the real faithful disciple like me, you may ask. Everything! Be honest. Every American let's a bit of pop America into their heart, even if it is a subtle acceptance. We all carry the poison of skepticism and doubt, which pollutes our praise and worship of Jesus. All of us carry incarnate barriers to evangelization in the pantheon of American divinities.
All of us need repentance, contrition, confession, and blessed Divine, and Merciful, absolution!
"The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:22-30
The solution? Simple, yet painful. It is the Cross. It is dying to oneself, in order to make room for Jesus in our midst. It is Jesus on Jesus' terms, on His Church's terms, over our polluted American terms. It is Jesus the King of Mercy, over the democracy of relativism. It is sharing undiluted divinity in doctrine and dogma unchanged by post-modern tom-foolery.
It is letting the One True God reign over all the false gods found in our sin. It is redemption.