[gtranslate] The Flaw in the “WWJD” Mentality - Eglise Catholique Saint James (Saint Jacques)

The Flaw in the “WWJD” Mentality

The Flaw in the “WWJD” Mentality

Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23; Mk 16:15-20

A few years ago, the catchy acronym WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) was a very common, simple, and practical way of making decisions. When faced with a moral choice, a person simply had to imagine Jesus, remember His way of acting, reflect on what Jesus would do in the concrete situation at hand and then act in the way that Jesus would have acted in that moment. Pretty simple. Right?

There is just one major fault with this way of making choices. It tends to reduce Jesus to a product of imagination summoned on occasion. This approach does not give due recognition to the abiding presence of Jesus with us at each moment and His power to act in our lives. Jesus lives within us and among us to this day; His Ascension does not mean His departure—it is a reminder of His intense presence an action in us.

Two things are clear from the Ascension account of Mark’s Gospel. Firstly, the visible embodied presence of Jesus ended with His Ascension to the Father: “So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God” (Mk 16:19). St. Luke also describes the Ascension in these words, “As they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight” (Acts 1:9). The disciples did not see Christ visibly any more.

Secondly, the invisible presence and action of the risen Christ became more intense as His disciples embraced their mission: “But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mk 16:20). Jesus did not abandon His disciples when He ascended. By ascending to His Father, He became ever more present to them and acted more powerfully in them and through them. The disciples thus became both companions and instruments of the risen Christ in every place and time.

When the visible presence of the risen Christ ceased with His glorious Ascension, His invisible presence and action in our lives became more intense and constant. Jesus is not just a memory or an imagination to be imitated. He is alive and always present with us, with power to act in us and through us in all the situations and decisions that we face.

This truth is absolutely crucial for us to embrace the only vocation that our ascended and ever-present Lord offered to us—to witness to Him. By His Ascension, we have access to the Spirit for faithful witness: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Witnessing to Jesus becomes our way of life now and our way of following Jesus to heaven as He leads us home along the same path that He has travelled.

Just as Jesus witnessed to His Father by the power of the Spirit, so we too can make Him known and loved more by others by the power of the Spirit, “As the Father has sent me, so do I send you” (Jn 20:21). There is no heavenly entrance for us if we too do not faithfully witness to Jesus now by His grace.

But we cannot faithfully and constantly witness to Jesus if He is only an “imaginary friend” evoked in morally conflicting situations. We cannot make Him known to others in each time or place when all we do is to try imitating Him without being aware of His abiding presence and action in us: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). We can be His faithful witness in our world only because He is intimately present with us and powerfully active in us and through us in every place and time.

So, to be His witnesses today, we must ask ourselves two questions.

Firstly, are we truly aware of His abiding presence with us all the time? Are we striving to live in His presence? Are we so sucked into the rhythm of life that we become oblivious to the Lord’s presence with us? Can we let Mama Mary help us to know that the “Lord is (always) with us”?

Secondly, are we allowing Him to act in us and through us and make Himself known to others? Are we ready to be His instruments in our world today? How do we tend to hinder the action of Jesus in our lives? 

We allow Jesus to act in us when we seek to do His will always by His grace and for His sake. Jesus cannot act in us when we are obstinately doing our own wills, proudly trusting in ourselves, and selfishly doing things for our own glory and gain.

In the Ascension of Jesus, the visible has disappeared so that the invisible can be more powerfully present with us. The same mystery is made present in each Eucharist. The invisible presence of Jesus is intensified in us only when we receive Him in the sacrament. If He abides in us and we abide in Him, allowing Him to act in us and through us, we will be His faithful witnesses in this life and His eternally joyful companions in heaven one day.

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

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary through prayer