Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto begins his column this week with the familiar lyrics from Avril Lavigne's 2003 hit "I'm with you". It's not exactly what the kids are listening to, but the lyrics are certainly familiar to anyone 20 to 40 and the feeling of being lost or unknown resonates with plenty of folk in that age range.
It's no mistake that prior to assuming his own diocese, Bishop Soto was a regular on the Catholic "young adult" speaking circuit. I heard him speak twice in that capacity and felt the bishop a master at speaking to and evangelizing that particular demographic which was largely single and only vaguely churched.
His column this week captures a small glimpse of the bishop's moving style:
We are known and loved by the Lord
There is a song on the radio the refrain of which goes like this:
Isn’t anyone tryin’ to find me?
Won’t somebody come take me home?
It’s a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won’t you take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I... I’m with you
I’m with you.
Avril Lavigne is the author of that song. It aches with loneliness, restlessness and fear. It was a popular song maybe because it said something about the uneasiness with which many people live today. What worries me about this song is the anonymity. We live in an anonymous society. The song talks about not knowing who you are and that does not matter.
But it does matter. It should matter to us as Christians because salvation consists of being known and loved by God. The Lord Jesus does know who we are. He says to each of us, “You know who am I because I made your hearts for me.” The Lord Jesus says to us, “I’m with you.…I know who you are and I’m still with you. I will stand by you. I will walk with you. I will even carry you.” In the eyes of the Lord Jesus, we are strangers and aliens no longer. We are fellow citizens. We are living stones held together with Christ as a sturdy, sacred temple. (Eph. 2.13-22)
In the Gospel, Jesus does not call strangers. He calls his friends. The list of those he calls begin with Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Simon and Jude and goes on through the ages until today. The Lord Jesus has added our names to the list.
Continue reading Bishop Soto's column.