I cannot imagine life without Christ. I cannot remember a time when I was not Catholic, since both of my parents are Catholic. Both of their families are overwhelming Catholic too. When visiting my relatives, there was never a choice about whether or not I would go to Mass on Sunday. And it did not matter whether my parents were there or not, since there were plenty of aunts and uncles, and even cousins, who made sure that Mass was a regular part of any weekend.
Even today, I cannot really understand someone who lives life without faith. I simply cannot imagine trying to face life without this ongoing relationship with Jesus. My life is fulfilled every day in some way or another. I know I do not need to walk alone, becuase God is always with me. I also can see that I am led in directions that always seem to turn out for the best, oftentimes in spite of myself.
So it is a little hard for me to imagine a time without Christ. Paul reminds the new Christians of the most important elements of this new relationship with Jesus. Our sin creates a barrier between God and us, and with each other. We are at odds. By rejecting God we make the choice to be alone.
And that I know I do. I know I should not, but there are too many times where I am not attentive to God’s will, and I did not care. Sin is not something we do by accident, or that we fall into simply because of bad luck. When I sin, it is because I choose to sin. As I used to tell second graders in preparation for confession for the first time, “You can only sin on purpose. You cannot sin by accident.”
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the Blood of Christ.” Can you believe it? Can you grasp that? Despite our deliberate rejection of God, through Christ we have been brought near again. The sacrifice of Jesus has redeemed us from our sins, saved us, and enabled again, over and over, this new and life giving relationship with Jesus.
Because of the Blood of Christ, the Blood shed upon the Cross, that we are able to have new life. The sinless Christ took upon our sin for the salvation of the world. And it is this relationship that brings us to peace with God, and with each other.
So while I may not remember life without knowing Christ, I do know what it means to try to live life without Jesus. And it is not pretty.