Daily Reflection
April 27th, 1999
Lori Spanbauer
Campus Ministry
Acts 11:19-26
John 10:22-30
My spiritual director once told me that when young men were being “interviewed” for entrance into the diocesan seminary, they were asked a very interesting question: “If Jesus Christ’s remains were discovered tomorrow, proving that he never rose from the dead, what would be your response?”

In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that men from Cyprus and Cyrene preached the Lord Jesus, “and a great number that believed turned to the Lord.” And we learn that Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, “and a large company was added to the Lord.” My guess is that all of the people in Antioch who heard the preaching did not come to believe because of the mere words they heard and because someone explained Jesus to them. My guess is that, more likely, the people of Antioch believed because they encountered Christ in the people, such as Barnabas and Saul, who manifested his presence.

Conversely, we are presented today with the gospel of John in which we encounter the Jews who, even though face to face with Jesus, doubted his identity. But Jesus offers this terrific indication of his presence: “The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me.”

I wish I had the time and space to list all of the ways that I know of people bearing witness to a living Christ and manifesting his presence; a few come immediately to mind. Today I heard that students from a second high school in Littleton, Colorado made a big poster and left it at Columbine High School in Littleton, the scene of the fatal shootings, offering their condolences and stating, “We are here for you, Columbine”… I recently learned that a group of Ignatian Associates will be sponsoring Albanian refugees to come to the United States so they can live in relative safety… A group of students at Creighton, on their own initiative, are organizing a project in which they will regularly pick up leftover food, which is now being discarded by local restaurants each night, and transport it to area shelters. Only a living Christ could work and actively manifest himself in our lives and in our world, and allow it to bear witness to his presence.

So… “If Jesus Christ’s remains were discovered tomorrow, proving that he never rose from the dead, what would be your response?” My answer would be, "I have experienced the love of Christ lived out in the lives of people who know him (not just hear about him). I have encountered Christ in the people who have manifested his presence; a presence that is more than convincing – it is a presence that is compelling.”

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