22 cn01 2019

André Ahchak

Do you remember the first time you were head-over-heels in love with someone

When the girl in the lift you see every morning on your way up to the office finally catches your eye and she smiles at you? Or the guy you’ve regularly noticed at the far end of the food court walks your way with the biggest smile possible and says, “Hi”. Do you remember that first encounter? Then after your first few weeks of going out – you gushed with great enthusiasm sharing animatedly with your friends about the most wonderful person you’ve met in your life.

Falling in love with someone

Now I’m not referring to any dating book so I don’t have steps to offer you; but just from personal experience. I believe it’s our personal encounter of the other person that makes us fall in love. It’s that building of trust and admiration for the person who so attracts us – that we want to share and give more of ourselves to. We’re willing to go out of the way at our expense to do something for this person we’ve fallen in love with.

The personal encounter

Have you ever been asked, “Is Jesus your personal Lord and Saviour?” A lot of us Catholics will go “er…yah…of course…I’m a cradle Catholic…!” “Of course I go to Mass every weekend!’”

Sounds like a really simple question and yet I believe what is truly being asked is; have we had a personal encounter or experience of Jesus? Is He real to you and I? Have we fallen in love with Him? Do we keep personal time with Him? Do we recognise His face in the people we meet every day? Are we excited to speak to our friends about Jesus with the same enthusiasm as we do when we are dating our spouses or friends?

Who is Jesus to me

At a Retreat this year I was forced to ask myself these very questions. Is Jesus just a nice fluffy feeling when all is well in my life? Or is He real with me in the everyday grind and truly with me when I’m at my lowest points in life. Can I rely on my relationship with Jesus? These are tough questions! If I don’t have a close and personal encounter with Jesus, how can I communicate or share Him with others? One thing is clear to me though. I have to be Jesus to others. The reality of Jesus to me must be my reality lived out for others; that I may be a witness to Christ who lives in me. And hopefully with St Paul I can truly say, “…it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ
who lives in me…” (Gal 2:20).

Sharing the News

After the Angel Gabriel told her she was to be the mother of the Saviour, “Mary set out and went with haste…” to go and share with her cousin Elizabeth the “good news”. cf: Luke 1:39. Can we keep the good news of our love for Jesus quiet?

My friends, this is the great joy I share with you too. It’s been difficult as a cradle Catholic sometimes to be excited about my faith and relationship with Jesus. I’ve really had to dig deep and ask myself who Jesus truly is to me. I’ve had a very challenging year. If not for the Lord and His faithfulness there is no way I could have done anything. Many times I keep reminding myself to be humble always before God and man. That nothing I do is mine or for me. The minute I think I can depend on my own will and strength, things go haywire and that’s when I’m reminded “not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

I cannot end this reflection without mentioning that I am so very grateful to God for having gifted me a wonderful wife who supports me and my not so perfect family. To my office colleagues who have become brothers and sisters in the work we do for the Archdiocese, I thank God for each of you.

To you my dear friends and readers, I thank you for supporting the Catholic News all these years. I humbly ask you to continue to give us your feedback in the survey we are currently conducting.

For your loved ones, I pray that you look to 2019 with the love, joy and peace that only Jesus can bring, so that with the Psalmist we say, “The Lord is my strength and my song, He is my Saviour” (Ps 118:14).

I wish you Jesus, more than anything!

André Ahchak is Director of the Archbishop’s Communications Office