#51 The Doctrine of Jesus
The truths Jesus taught are so important and essential that, to know them or not, to believe them or not, is a matter of life or of death. His doctrine is not optional; rather, it is so essential that we cannot attain eternal life without it. “Whosoever believeth in Him . . . may have life everlasting . . . but he that doth not believe is already judged: because he believeth not in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God”( Jn 3:16-18). Compared to the truths taught by Jesus, all others are insufficient.
Because the doctrine of Jesus is absolutely indispensable, he proved its truth by miracles in order to help our weak faith to adhere to it. To the blindly obstinate Jews who refused to believe in Him, He said, “The works which the Father hath given Me to perfect; the works themselves which I do, give testimony of Me” (ibid. 5:36). When the disciples of John the Baptist asked Him if He were the Messiah in whom they were to believe, He answered simply, “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, t he deaf hear, the dead rise again” (Mt 11:4-5). The Gospel almost always concludes a recital of the wonders perfomed by Jesus with such words as: “and His disciples believed in Him” (Jn 2:11); “All wondered and glorified God” (Mk 2:12). Jesus is the only Teacher who can guarantee with miracles the truth of His doctrine.
Jesus wants everyone, even the simple and the ignorant, to understand his doctrine; He often said that He came especially to evangelize the poor. Jesus is not a teacher seeking glory and praise; He seeks only the good of His disciples. He uses simple language which can be understood by all, and He illustrates the most sublime truths by very ordinary things. Thus, for example, He uses the water in the well to represent the living water of grace, and the vine to explain the mystery of our union with Him, the true Vine. Further, Jesus does not wait for us to seek Him; He is the Master who goes Himself in search of His disciples, and he seeks them everywhere - in the tax-collectors’ office, in the homes and haunts of the publicans, in the streets and squares, in the country. He teaches in the synagogues and from the porch of the Temple as well as in Peter’s boat or on the grassy slopes of the hillsides. He welcomes Nicodemus at night and stops at the well of Sichem to wait for the Samaritan woman.
Jesus explains His doctrine in a manner which is adapted, not only to the mentality and needs of the people of Palestine, but also to that of all future generations. His words are always living and timely, suited to the needs of every age and every people.
His hearers were divided into two groups: the proud, obstinate hearts who refused to believe, even when they saw the most astounding miracles, and of whom Jesus said, “If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (Jn 15:22); and the upright hearts, sincerely eager for the truth, who accepted His words with faith and love. Jesus rejoiced because of them saying, “I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones” (Mt 11:25).
“O Lord, my God, Thou hast indeed the words of life, wherein, if we seek it, we mortals shall all find what we desire. But what wonder is it, my God, that we should forget Thy words, when our evil deeds have made us infirm and foolish? … What is this, Lord? … How blind of us to seek repose where it cannot possibly be found! … Reflect that we do not understand ourselves or know what we desire, nor are we able to ask as we should. Give us light, Lord. Behold, we need it more than the man who was blind from his birth, for he wised to see the light and could not, whereas nowadays, Lord, no one wishes to see it” (Theresa of Jesus).
The contents of faith required for belief (the obedience of faith, as Vatican II put it) are no more optional than the components of the commercial airliners we travel in; sure, the coffee, movie, and meal are optional, but the engine, hydraulics, navigation system, etc? If the pilot came on the intercom and said that one of these systems had failed, but he was going to take off any way, cause who really needs it... would you stay in your seat?
So when you hear the same put forth in a Sunday homily... ? well?