Posted on Aug 20, 2020

Exactly 50 years ago this weekend I left my parent’s home, more or less for good.

I went away to college–St. John’s University at the edge of the Minnesota prairie.

I didn’t know a soul at St. John’s. I didn’t go for orientation

and I picked my classes for that first semester rather thoughtlessly:

Logic–at 8 am taught by an old monk who taught only this class

And then went off to the abbey woods to log for the rest of the day.

Introduction to Sociology, taught by a monk who chain-smoked during class.

Interpersonal Communications–taught by Karen Garvin who became my mentor.

The Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith, taught by another monk

Who also chain smoked through class.

Logic was a disaster.  It was 8 am, five days a week and one of the first things I learned

at college was that students simply don’t go to 8 am classes.

Sociology was okay.  I remember the name Durkheim who was big in sociology.  That’s it.

Communications, was a delight

It was the theology course though that opened my eyes to a new reality.

I still remember the November day when, when I understood the whole point of the class and I remember raising my hand and saying, “You mean, there’s a difference between who Jesus really was and how the church perceived him later?”

The monk slapped his hand down on the podium and said:

“There’s a young man who finally got the point.  Of course it took three months.

It’s not a hard point to get but apparently everyone in here only wants Jesus to be who he was for you when you were in second grade.

Well you grew up, it’s time you let Jesus grow up too.”

Then he smiled and said: “Unless of course you haven’t grown up?”

The question so simply asked in today’s gospel,  apparently, is not so simply answered.

Who is Jesus? In many ways that depends on how we have met him,

           How others we trust and love have talked about him.

How we have let ourselves get to know him.

And how much we have grown up.

It never occurred to me before that class that who Jesus really was,

            And how my perceptions of him shaped by so many things, might be different.

It also never occurred to me that my relationship with him needed to change and grow up.

Has your relationship with him grown up?