Father Jeff is a pastor of Saint Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist-St. Louis.
God spoke to him through the Boston song What Does It Take to be a Man? Came out when he was 17, on the basketball team etc.
If I want to be a man, he must surround himself with good, faithful men (Psalm 1).
Our culture would hold up John Wayne as the role model for a good man … be on our own, win our fights, do good stuff … we don’t need anybody else.
Nobody wants to be a wimp … but what does scripture say? How about Psalm 92:11 … the Lord has given me the wild oxen strength.
That’s great, but we need even more … we need the strength from the Body of Christ … the sacraments, his Church, and the wild oxen strength of our brothers in the Lord.
Our pride prevents us from using the wild oxen strength that we’ve been given for the good of others.
1 John … “we love because John first loved us. If anyone says that ‘I love God’ but hates his brother, he’s a liar …”.
Matthew 25:41-46 … the only depiction of the last judgement in the Gospels.
There are many more things than what Jesus gives in that passage … we are required to give ourselves completely.
Jesus has profoundly touched us in “we and him” … he built us for community, to be in the body of Christ.
If we are not willing to use our wild-oxen strength in reliable, honest, and vulnerable relationships with our brothers then we are not honest, we are kidding ourselves, we are lying.
Michelangelo … “the problem with us humans is not that we aim to high and miss our goal, it’s that we aim too low and we hit our goal.” Ouch, but oh so true.
He has been in a monthly accountability group of men for more than ten years, and that has been essential.
We NEED this because otherwise we’ll rationalize and take short cuts, we won’t be what God intends for us to be … we’ll be something less. Don’t even pretend that you have the wild-oxen strength if you’re trying on your own.
Today, as good as it is, must be about the future, about what we’re going to do to live the Gospel tomorrow.
In short, what does it take to be a man? It takes other good, faithful men.
Some Ideas for Action
Repent. Find a group of friends from some past experience, like a Kyros, CRHP, Acts, Cursillo, Luke 18, whatever, and reconnect. Be honest and reach out for help.
Jesus came so that we might have his life, and have it abundantly.
Enough small-talk, enough passing time. God is aching for us to be the men he intended when he created us.
Check out the National Fellowship of Catholic Men. Find a group, a format that works for you and get to work.
Finished with the story of Eustace becoming a dragon in the Chronicles of Narnia. Jesus not only wants to make us a new man, he wants to keep us a new man.