We should not let the words of Scripture remain mere words, but, as we would do with a letter from someone who loves us very much, we should let these words penetrate into our imagination to the point that we can “see,” “hear,” and “touch” the word of life (cf. 1 John 1:1-3). We must do so in obedience to the word which surpasses us, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Is 55:8).

Psalm 135:15-18 should warn us that, through our imagination, we can craft false gods—even ones that we might call “Jesus”—that can lead us astray. Let us let the Jesus of the Bible scandalize us when we realize that he is not the “god” that we would have imagined on our own. And let us let that Jesus, who reveals to us the one true God, be the Lord of our imagination rather than any other “Jesus” we would fashion for ourselves.

—Fr. Sylvester Tan, SJ, is a newly ordained priest of the USA Central and Southern Province, currently serving as the associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans.