We started this series with some basic questions about our relationship with Jesus. As Catholics, we should all know the kerygma, a Greek word meaning proclamation. The kerygma is a basic statement about why Jesus is the center of our lives.
Here is the content of the kerygma: God created all of humanity out of love, so that every human being would know Him and experience His great love. Our sinfulness caused separation from God. God sent Jesus, His Son, to atone for and save us from the consequences of our sins. Our response is to repent, believe in Jesus and live the life Jesus makes available to us through His grace. We are all called to be disciples, faithful followers of Jesus, and to make disciples of others.
The name “Jesus” means “God saves.” There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the world, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 Our sinfulness makes us responsible for the torments inflicted upon Jesus (Catechism Sec. 598). However, we are redeemed through the blood of Jesus’ cross. We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:5-10
No matter how good a life any of us lives, there is no one on earth who deserves, as a matter of justice, to live in a state of indescribable bliss forever in heaven with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is only through the sufferings and death of Jesus that this life in heaven becomes available to us. He is the bridge that takes us from a life of sin to a life filled with the ecstasy of God’s presence and love.
As Catholic Christians, then, it is imperative that we embrace our belief in and love for Jesus and accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior. We have to see Him as the center of our lives, the one who gives our lives meaning and purpose.
The retired bishop of Tulsa, Bishop Edward Slattery, used to encourage Catholics to stare at the crucifix and meditate on the sufferings and death of Jesus with a deep understanding that Jesus suffered and died for each of us. Reflecting on what Jesus has done for us should lead us to love Jesus and surrender our lives to Him. This can be done by reciting the Sinners’ Prayer, in the form below or using our own words.
"Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless. I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead.
Please, Jesus, forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart. Please, Lord Jesus,
forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Lord and my friend. I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ."
In our next post, we’ll address the difference that our faith in Jesus can make in our life on earth.