Have You Been Freed From Ignorance?

“Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did.”

In these words, St. Peter speaks about the greatest act of ignorance in human history and its disastrous consequences, i.e. the people’s ignorance of Jesus Christ and the brutal murder of the God-man by His creatures. Despite Jesus’ powerful deeds, His life-giving words, and Pilate’s desire to release Him, His people did not recognize Him. Not only that, but they killed Him. St. Peter strongly connected this ignorance of Christ with grave sin: “You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death.”

The good news is that, in raising Jesus from the dead, God has not only delivered us from sin, but He has also corrected and removed our ignorance of His Son, Jesus Christ: “But God raised Him from the dead, of this we are witnesses” (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19). Because of the Resurrection, it is time for us now to know the risen Christ intimately and to experience the freedom from the dominion of sin that He alone brings. We no longer have any valid excuse not to know Christ and to wallow in the bondage of sin.   

The Resurrection accounts show us the many ways in which our risen Savior labors to make Himself known to His disciples. He was not satisfied in making Himself known to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus and revealing Himself to them “in the breaking of the bread.” Despite their infidelity to Him, Jesus also graciously appeared to them in a group and offered them peace that they did not deserve: “Peace be with you.” That invitation to peace was an invitation to abandon ignorance of Him and to know, love, and follow Him now with complete abandonment.

Jesus also showed them His hands that they might come to know Him more: “Look at my hands and my feet, that is I myself” (Lk 24:35-48). He even ate baked fish before them to bring them to deeper knowledge that the Crucified had risen and was present with them. Their past failures and infidelities should not and cannot prevent them from knowing Him intimately now.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we have been set free from ignorance of Christ through His Resurrection, but do we really know Him now? There are two clear signs that we know Him as we should.

Firstly, if we know Him, we will constantly repent of our sins and return to Him in conversion. 

After stressing that God has delivered us from our past ignorance of His Son, St. Peter adds: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” His words echo the same call to conversion from the lips of Jesus after revealing Himself to His disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations.”

If we know Jesus Christ, His undying love for each of us, and the power of His Resurrection, then we will keep rising from our sins and returning to Him with loving confidence. We will never get tired of beginning again if we know the heart of Jesus towards us sinners. We will not call Him a liar by trying to justify our sins or pretend that we are not sinners: “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say, ‘We have not sinned,’ we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8,10). If we really knew the price our Savior paid to deliver us from our sins, we would not settle for one of those newly concocted phony blessings from a priest that the declaration Fiducia Supplicans recommends for people in same-sex relationships.  

Secondly, if we know Him and what He is doing for us now, we too will strive to obey His will and fulfill His commandments. 

Do we know that Jesus, “our Advocate with the Father,” is constantly interceding for us so that we too can obey as He did? Thus, “the way that we may be sure that we know Him is to keep His commandments. Those who say, ‘I know Him,’ but do not keep His commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them” (1 Jn 2:1-5). It is our loving knowledge of Jesus that moves us to keep His commandments and not just call Him our Lord: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).

The risen Christ is with us now and He is always pursuing us to reveal Himself more and more to us so that we grow in knowledge of Him. Whether it is in the scriptures we read or in our time of prayer, whether it is in the persons and events of daily life, in the moments of our service to others, or in our acts of obedience, He never ceases to reveal Himself to us.

If we still remain ignorant of Jesus Christ, we will be ignorant of the many things that Jesus alone reveals to us for our victory over sin. We will be ignorant of the power of His grace and love in our lives. We will be completely clueless about the value of suffering and sacrifices in our vocations. We will think little of the indwelling of the Trinity within us and our participation in the very life of God. We will be ignorant of the disastrous consequences of sin, our deliverance from the dominion of Satan, and our adoption into the kingdom of God: “God has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin” (Col 1:13).

Above all, Jesus reveals Himself powerfully to us in the Eucharist: “They recognized Him in the breaking of the bread.” We know the risen Christ now. Let us strive to know Him better so that we avoid all ignorance and begin to overcome sin in our lives.

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

Image by Arnie Bragg from Pixabay

Editor’s Note: This article refers to the following Scripture passages: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 1Jn 2:1-5; Lk 24:35-48.

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

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