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Oct 31, 2021

Simply Jesus

Growing up in an Italian Catholic family, I came to know about Jesus at a very young age. One of the first introductions was at the Latin mass at Our Lady of Peace Church in NY. My mom made the train trip there with me in tow, as it was her home church. The priest had his back toward the worshippers. The woman wore head coverings and dark clothing. The most important message to me was the need to be quiet. In the House of God you kneeled, prayed the rosary and were quiet. Although no one understood most, if any, of what the priest said, the adults left feeling they had fulfilled their "religious obligation".

We had a Catholic Bible at home that included glossy color photos of Biblical scenes and the different aspects of the church, rituals and sacraments. Most of these seemed scary, especially the ones of Jesus dying and being crucified. The book was written in a version that was difficult at best to read. My parents bedroom, in our modest 800 square foot attached home with "railroad" rooms, was complete with statues of various Saints on the dresser and the Infant of Prague. There were crosses with Jesus hanging on them in various locations.

Major changes in the Catholic church back then to including changes to say the mass in English, have the priest face the worshippers and updating the music and artwork to be more contemporary. Still, many of the rules and  rituals remained including providing hymnals with sections of the Word (an Old Testament reading, Psalm, Letter and New Testament Gospel) to each church attendee each Sunday. Although I was the only one of the children in the family that was allowed to attend public school rather than the Catholic school, I attended religious instruction throughout my childhood at the Catholic church.

It wasn't until I was almost an adult visiting California, that I was introduced to a New Testament Bible, in a version I could actually understand. I also was invited to attend a Bible study. It was beautiful, humbling, convicting and above all simple. In the midst, I went from knowing about Jesus to knowing Jesus. Eventually on my life's journey I was introduced (by my oldest child) to a non-Catholic church. The pastor at the Friends church shared the entire Bible and taught about how the Bible points to Jesus and is all about Jesus. There were simple messages of truth connecting the Old and New Testament. It wasn't about rituals, rules. and feeling obligated, rather it was simply about Jesus the Living God and his desire to have a relationship with every person. 

Times have changed and Jesus, our Savior, King, and Lord of Lords is no longer hidden, or veiled if you will, as he had been from me and so many for so long. Praise God for the truth and beauty of Jesus Christ and our ability to know Him and love Him without a third party or a process. Yes, it's simply Jesus. No sugar coating, redesign, steps to get to him or test to pass. Just Jesus.

Do you know Jesus? Are you in the Word daily feasting on the truth? If not, don't wait any longer. The YouVersion Bible app is a great place to start reading the Bible and provides so many devotionals with contemporary and real messages.  You can find it here store https://youversion.com/the-bible-app/ or at the app store.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 
John 8:31-32

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