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  • Fr. Terry Ryan, CSP

A Distance- A meditation for Holy Week


A Distance People might ask me if I am a Christian, or a Believer, or go to church, but never am I asked if I am a disciple. Why? I suspect that it was different in the early days of Jesus' followers. Peter, the first pope, was asked if he was a disciple, that is, a follower of Jesus. He said no a few times. No one asked if believed. Belief was not an issue back then. Did you do as Jesus did was the issue. In time, belief trumped following as the focus. With the development of dogma, came heresies, that is, dogma debates. People stopped asking if you were a follower. They wanted to know what you believed. And as we came to see in history, you could believe but not really follow Jesus in your actions. Peter gives us an example of this behavior. He was counseled to listen to Jesus. To be a listener, one must stay near to the teacher. Jesus did not write books. When Jesus was arrested, it says in the gospel that Peter followed him, AT A DISTANCE. This is the key. It became the problem with Christianity and probably faith in general. People would commit with their heads to a belief, get baptized or whatever, but their bodies, their actions would not be what Jesus counseled. There became lots of believers, but from a distance, so that they would not have to hear Jesus. Is that why Catholics like to sit in the back of church? I struggle with this distance issue myself.

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