Okay, last reflection on my time with the Missionaries.
In all the discussions we had with them, Brad kept trying to get them to clarify a question: Who do you say that Jesus is? Is He God, or not? Created or uncreated? Do you worship Him?
The first time he brought it up, they kind of were taken aback, and sort of came to the conclusion, yes. He’s God. I guess. The second time, kind of the same, but with a tinge of “c’mon. We know he died for our sins. That’s all that’s important, right?” No, not right. If you get Jesus wrong, you’re toast (theologically speaking, of course). If he isn’t God, isn’t uncreated, then we worship an idol. He couldn’t have died for us. He couldn’t have raised himself from the dead. Our faith is in vain.
But if he is? Shouldn’t that blow our minds every time we even think of it? That God would love us so much as to condescend to become one of us? And that he invites us into that same life, sharing his very power with us through grace?
And if he’s God, could he have failed to set up a Church that would last? Would he have been lying about “the gates of hell not prevailing against it”? Or mistaken? If Jesus is God, and the founder of the Church, then let’s stay on board, and invite everyone we can to join the party!! Because if this is his church, why would you want to be anywhere else? As my Ecclesiology professor probably borrowed from some wise person: If you get Christ wrong, you will get the Church wrong. And vice versa.
My very last thought from our Mormon Experience was this: regular people don’t think nearly enough about eternal things. Elder M. commented to that effect a few times. Shoot, imagine you’re down and out and some enthusiastic, well mannered, friendly, helpful person shows up at your door offering to do yard work and listen and just spend time in real life conversation with you. When they finally get around to asking you about the Big Things in life, are you going to believe them? Heck, yeah. Their version is just close enough to what most people heard decades ago in Sunday School to be reassuring.
Now, again, this is not a shot against LDS missionaries, but rather a call to action for us Catholics. If we really are the Church founded by Christ, why aren’t we out on our bikes, like the Good Shepherd, seeking and saving the lost? At the very least, it should be us that are there at hospital beds, or next to the friend getting divorced, or the buddy looking for work. It should be us there when people start asking the Big Questions… because we have the answer.