As Christians, we have the double gift of the Old Testament and the New Testament. We have the word of God from the days of old, and we have the living Word of God – Jesus. We claim to “believe in the one whom [God] has sent,” so we should have God’s “word remaining in [us],” right?

It’s not so easy, as Jesus points out. Just because we have read the Gospel does not mean we have allowed the Word of God to live in us. For Jesus Himself is the Word, and He is alive, so every time we read the Gospel we should be changed – having encountered the living Christ.

If we aren’t changed, it is because we have not encountered Jesus. We have not looked Him in the eyes and allowed Him to gaze at us with Love. It is a scary thing, to be gazed upon by Love Itself. Perhaps this is what Jesus means when He says, “You do not want to come to me to have life.” We do not want to know what Jesus sees when He looks upon us, and we are scared to know what we may find in the life that God offers. Let us ask Jesus for the grace to desire the life He has in store for us.

—Rachel Fitzgibbon serves as Retreat Coordinator at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington IL.