Artist Stanley Gordan's painting of Christ titled 'Jesus, King of the Universe'

CNS | ARTIST STANLEY GORDAN'S PAINTING OF CHRIST TITLED "JESUS, KING OF THE UNIVERSE"

April 18, 2011
JAMES BUCHOK
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

The great accomplishments of the Western world have come at the cost of our faith, says the archbishop of Winnipeg.

"Our world has a very difficult time believing in God," Archbishop James Weisgerber told a recent Theology on Tap session.

"We have accomplished great things in the western world," Weisgerber said. "But it has come at a great cost. We've lost our will to believe in God, to take God seriously."

Many years ago there were "many gods and few goods. Now there are many goods but no room for God," he said.

If we are to belong to the family of Jesus, "we have to act like it," Weisgerber said in the dialogue with young adults about discipleship at a Winnipeg pub.

Theology on Tap evenings are held to discuss religious issues among young adults in an informal atmosphere.

ALL-HOLY GOD

The archbishop said at the centre of the Jewish-Christian tradition is God as "all holy, as something 'other,' of a completely different order.

"But the centre of our faith is that we believe Jesus is both human and divine. Jesus reveals to us who God is. The way we relate to God is to relate to Jesus because he shows us the human God."

Weisgerber said when Jesus was in the middle of his public life, teaching, healing and taking on the authorities, "he was a rock star. And he chose disciples who were a little dense, a little slow, lazy, something like us, but he picked them because he wanted to."

BIG BROTHER

The disciple Peter acted like a big brother to Jesus, Weisgerber said.

"He thought he was in charge and when Jesus told Peter that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer and die, Peter's reaction was, 'Hey kid, have you lost your mind?' And Jesus' reply was, 'Get behind me, Satan' because Peter's thoughts were human thoughts."

Jesus then had to tell Peter that he, too, would have to go to Jerusalem, the archbishop said. "Jesus told him if you hang on to your life, you're going to lose it all. You have to give it up. And that is what it means to be a disciple."

Weisgerber said the Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus advising, "Do not be afraid."

THE KINGDOM

"That needs to echo in our hearts, because Jesus has freed us. He has promised us the kingdom. Our job is not just to follow laws but to follow Jesus."

The archbishop said when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples, it was like saying, "You are now part of the kingdom of God."

"We can't think of Jesus apart from the community of his disciples," Weisgerber said.

"We are to live together as a community and our task is to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, to allow Jesus to lead us. That is what it means to be a disciple."