I have four sons.
If you've met them you know there isn't a non-boy bone in any of their squiggly little bodies. So when you are driving in a car with three of them (ages 5, 6, and 7) and you see the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile parked in front of the grocery store you hit the brakes. Hard.
Like a gift from above came two golden opportunities:
- Get three boys out of the steel cage that is my compact car
- Get three boys into a giant hot dog bus
There was literally no good reason to not do either of those things.
After a few minutes of oohs and aahs at the reality that they were hanging out inside a giant piece of pork, like Jonah in a pig-whale, the boys were asked: "Do you guys like hot dogs?" They responded like the males they are "Yeah, we do." Then one of the Wienermobile drivers asked: "Do you think you could eat a hot dog the size of the one on top of this vehicle?"
Thankfully, they said "no." Then one of the boys quickly chimed in: "We do know somebody who could." The driver responded with a grin: "You do? Who?"
"Jesus", responded my favorite son.
And just like that I knew something was working right in my house. Our domestic Church rocks!
Jill and I have always drilled into our son's heads (and hopefully their hearts too) that Jesus is a super big deal (obviously with an emphasis on "super big"). But Jesus isn't a super-hero. He is a savior. And while we've repeated over and over His greatness, what about his goodness?
My experience has been that it's talent that wows us, but character that wins us. Talent gets our attention, while character keeps it. The same is true of Jesus.
I'm afraid that if I don't course-correct soon Jesus will become, to my sons, just a giant hot dog eater and an irrelevant one at that. Stories of Jesus' greatness may have gotten their attention when they were young, but I'm guessing it's testimonies, that Jill and I share of His goodness that will keep them around long after the "Jesus is a super-hero" phase wears off.
In other words, speaking of his goodness, over and over.
Remember it's his impeccable character that puts us in position to be saved in the first place. St Paul speaks of Jesus this way:
And then because of who he was and the perfect life he offered for us, he was raised from the dead, thus ensuring the same opportunity for you and for me. Paul continues:
Great and good.
So during this Advent season I resolve to speak often to my sons, not just of what Jesus is capable of, but of his unrivaled character.
Here are three places a Catholic can go to learn more about the character of Jesus:
1) The Bible: As the Gospels recount the life Jesus, we find hundreds of stories of his faithfulness, mercy, and patience.
2) The lives of the saints: As the saints imitated Jesus, we discover true tales of his generosity, humility, and selflessness expressed through ordinary (made extraordinary by grace) men and women.
3) Our own lives: As you and I have experienced Jesus, testimonies of his compassion, kindness, and forgiveness abound in a life lived as his follower and friend.
Question: Have you experienced personally the 'goodness' of Jesus, his faithfulness, mercy, patience, etc..? If so, how could you share that experience with others in your life? Share about it in the comments below or on your favorite social network.