“Everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9)
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us to acknowledge Him before others that by so doing, we too shall be acknowledged by Him before the angels of God. Now, the question is: How do we acknowledge Jesus?
There is a story told of a blind girl who sold oranges in a very busy airport. Most people did not know she was blind. One day, some company executives were late to catch a plane and in a bid to run as fast as they could, they mistakenly hit her table of oranges toppling it over. Seeing what had happened, they simply apologised and continued their race for the flight. One of them stopped, came back and helped the little girl to pick up all her oranges. After putting everything in order, the little girl turned towards him and asked: “Are you Jesus?” The man laughed and asked her instead: “why do you ask?” The little girl said: “When the oranges fell, I prayed that Jesus should help me put them together.”
Dear friends, to acknowledge Jesus in our lives, we must behave in such a way that people can easily mistake us for the real Jesus. Acknowledging Jesus is not a matter of praying loud at street corners, wearing rosary beads on your neck or pretending (which is the very vice Jesus condemned in the Pharisees). Acknowledging Jesus is basically about incarnating Jesus in our world; making Jesus present through our faithful imitation of His words and actions.
On the other hand, denying Jesus in very simple terms is disgracing Jesus by our thoughts, words and actions. We deny Jesus when we make ourselves stumbling blocks and obstacles to those who desire to draw near to Him by our scandalous deeds. We deny Jesus when we fail to use our position in life to advance our religious beliefs. We deny Jesus when for fear of persecution, shame or insult, we refuse to stand by the truth (or defend our faith) and align with the standards of the world.
Jesus teaches us never to be afraid of acknowledging Him even if this may make us seem like outcasts before our friends or colleagues. We are not even to worry about how we are to respond when the moment comes because the Holy Spirit will put the right words into our mouth. A soldier does not go out to fight without his weapon and when he knows what the weapon is capable of going, he feels confident to face the warfront. So also, many Christians are too afraid of spreading their faith because they do not know what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing.
Some look down on themselves and become paralysed with fear, forgetting that it is not by their own power, intelligence or might but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we say the work of mission is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. He gives the right words we are to use and He touches the hearts of listeners to receive these words. Just as the Holy Spirit came upon Mary at the Annunciation, causing her virgin womb to carry a child, the Holy Spirit overshadows you causing Jesus to become incarnated within you.
Just as we are keen to talk evil (or gossip) about someone behind their back knowing that the person may never get to hear it, once we lose consciousness of the Holy Spirit within us, we are bound to fall into the temptation of speaking ill (blaspheming) against the Holy Spirit. Live in a manner that proclaims Jesus positively. Begin by committing yourself to always speaking the truth at all times, do not be a disgrace to Jesus.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, save me from ever denying you or blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. Amen
Bible Study: Ephesians 1:15-23, Psalm 8:2-7 and Luke 12:8-12).