Jesuit Father James Martin said that Catholics
tend to struggle with accepting the humanity of Jesus whereas the secular world
struggles with the divinity of Jesus. He said in order to be friends with,
Jesus people need to understand the Jesus of history and the Christ of Faith.
Father Martin shared stories of Jesus’
humanity in an effort to help people grow in friendship with Jesus Sept. 22 at
Catholic University’s CUA on Tap, an event for young adults.
“Entering into friendship with Jesus
means, in part, getting to know Jesus’ humanity,” said Father Martin.
Pointing at a baby in the audience,
Father Martin said Jesus needed to be held, fed, burped and changed, just like
any other baby. He gave vivid descriptions of what Jesus in His humanity would
have experienced, including getting sick or grieving the loss of his friend Lazarus.
“Jesus had real friends,” said Father
Martin. “Jesus was a real life, flesh and blood, excuse the expression ‘honest
to God’ person.”
Father Martin said people need to consider both sides of Jesus.
“If you see something that shares only
one side or the other of Jesus then it is incomplete,” he said.
The Jesus of history includes His
humanity, and the Christ of faith relates to the resurrection, His miracles and
being the Son of God, he said, adding that part of friendship with Jesus has to
do with honesty.
“Can you be honest with Jesus and God in
prayer?” Father Martin asked.
Joanna Scimeca, a teacher at Georgetown
Preparatory School in Bethesda, said the presentation “was inspiring for me to
think about how I would envision Jesus differently as a friend of mine.”
Catholic U. junior Victoria Consbruck said
friendships help in her relationship with God.
“Now that I’m a junior I really want
friends in my life who I think will be there longer than college,” she said.
“For me on a faith basis, that means that they should be there for me whether
we are at times when we are high in our faith or low in our faith, and be able
to see that and adapt to it.”
She said she wonders about how to maintain
friendships when faith isn’t a priority to others.
“How do you have friends (who) aren’t
very faithful, and how do you keep that going when it’s something important to
you and not important to them. Is it still possible or is it not possible?”
“I am very rooted in my Catholic faith,”
said Caili Pleshe, a junior at Catholic U. “It’s nice to have friends who are
also rooted in that faith. You have that bond with God and it’s something that
you guys have in common.”
She also has friends who don’t share the
“My friends accept my faith and
appreciate that I believe in something so deeply. Even if they don’t believe it,
they still respect it,” she said. “They have to respect what you believe even
if they don’t believe it, and I think that’s a really important part of a
For people who might have struggled with
other friendships, Father Martin had advice.
“Encounter Jesus through the Gospels
first and try to meet Him there,” he said. “Try to be open to different images
and ways of understanding Jesus. Any way of relating to Him that is an entrée
into His life is a good way to meet Him.”
In an interview after his presentation,
Father Martin said this year 43 men have entered the Society of Jesus, the largest
group in the past decade. Father Martin believes this is due in part to the
“Francis Effect.” Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope.
“The year after Francis was elected
pope, people expected to see an uptick, but Jesuits know it takes about three
years for a man to think about the society, discern and apply,” he said. “So
this is almost exactly the time that we would expect the uptick.”
Elliott can be reached at email@example.com.