Q: Why does God sound so stern in the Old Testament, but Jesus is so kind, loving and caring?
A: Many who are familiar with the Old Testament stories from the Book of Genesis through the prophets, prior to the birth of John the Baptist, recognize that time and time again God reprimanded his people for their transgressions. It seems, just when the people began to follow Our Lord, a distraction came, such as trying to replace God with one of their own images.
Still, from the creation of the universe and all through the Old Testament, God was consistently kind, loving and caring to his people, even if they did not always recognize it.
However, with the birth of Jesus and subsequently his early mission, we witness in him God’s enduring kindness, charity and mercy. In other words, Jesus exemplifies all the goodness of God, for he is the Son of God.
You are correct in recognizing Jesus, so kind loving and caring, from all the stories we have heard or read in the Gospels and all of the New Testament books. The goodness and kindness that God the Father exercised in the Old Testament, even at times when he had to be quite stern with the Chosen People, as well as other non-believers, comes to fruition in the person of Jesus. How blessed we are that God is so kind, loving and caring.
Q: How long did it take for Christianity to become a worldwide religion as it is today?
A: Well, the short, simple answer to your question would be, all the way until now; that is, the year 2016. The more complicated answer is that we are not done. In fact, the Catholic Church is a pilgrim church, namely we continue our pilgrimage here among our brothers and sisters in which we also have the character of being a missionary church.
As long as there are people in the world who have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and experienced his mercy and compassion, then our church has work to do. Over the course of human history, from the Pentecost gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, until now, the Catholic Church has evangelized the globe in numerous ways.
To this end, what is most important is for us not to lose our vigor and zeal to share Jesus Christ with all our brothers and sisters, especially those who may happen to be next door.
Q: If two people get together and God is in their presence, then why would we pray the prayer again tomorrow?
A: You are probably referring to the words of Jesus when he says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:7); and how grateful we are that Jesus is in our presence when we come together in prayer. We must remember, of course, that Jesus remains with us always. Therefore, praying to Jesus is not simply like calling him on the phone and later on disconnecting our communication and going on our way. Jesus remains.
Each day, and hopefully, frequently, we should take time in prayer and conversation with Jesus. He has much to share with us, if only we are willing to listen. And, as you point out, how important it is that we are able to share Our Lord with others in prayer as well.
To borrow a theme from the previous question regarding the missionary status of our Church, you and I can be fellow missionaries by living our faith and demonstrating to others God’s enduring presence among us.
Much is said in the New Evangelization within our own culture regarding our assisting others to “rediscover” Jesus. Moreover, we have also entered an era in which we can evangelize others for them to “discover” Jesus, even if they may come from a Christian family.
As the academic year has come to a close for most, we can keep each other in prayer as fellow missionaries by sharing with others the Good News of Jesus Christ by being kind, loving and caring.
May God bless you and your family.
To “Ask the Bishop,” direct questions to, Diocese of Steubenville Office of Christian Formation and Schools – P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952; (740) 282-3631.
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