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Chelsea Maag of Maryville University, center, and her sister Michelle Maag of Illinois College, left of her sister, listened to Father Mike Schmitz speak to the crowd during day two of SEEK23 on Jan. 3 at America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis.
Chelsea Maag of Maryville University, center, and her sister Michelle Maag of Illinois College, left of her sister, listened to Father Mike Schmitz speak to the crowd during day two of SEEK23 on Jan. 3 at America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

Who is Jesus and what does He teach us? SEEK keynoters Father Mike Schmitz and Sister Bethany Madonna reveal that faith is more than a feeling

Father Mike Schmitz, Sister Bethany Madonna were keynote speakers Jan. 3

Who is Jesus? And what does He teach us?

All of time and history revolves around the person of Jesus Christ, said Sister of Life Bethany Madonna, one of the evening keynote speakers at the SEEK 2023 conference on Jan. 3.

Sharing personal stories from her childhood and from the convent with the Sisters of Life, she said that God, the most Holy Trinity, is three persons of divine-giving love. “Everything came into being with Him.”

God calls us into being to share His life with us, she said. Even with the fall of man (sin), He became man for our salvation.

“All of time and history actually revolves around the person of Jesus Christ. Either BC, Before Christ, or AD, Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. It’s been 2,023 years since He revealed His sacred face,” she said. “They can call it whatever they want: Common Era. There’s nothing common about the era after God became a man.”

Sister Bethany asked: Who is Jesus? Was He a liar, a lunatic or the Lord? “He can only be one of these three options. This is what is so controversial about Jesus. He makes Himself the central message of His teaching. … I am the Light of the World. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the way, the truth and the life.”

Father Mike Schmitz, director of youth and young adult ministry in the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, and the host of the popular “Bible in a Year” podcast, continued the keynote by answering the question: What does Jesus teach us?

In the Gospel of Matthew (28:17), after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples went to Galilee, where they saw the Lord. Some of them worshiped Him, but some doubted.

Jesus is either of no importance or absolute importance. There’s no in between, Father Mike said. Either He is God or He isn’t. While there are multiple reasons why some of the disciples would have doubted Jesus, it’s a direct opposition to the meaning of faith.

If we haven’t been challenged by the Gospel, if we haven’t been paying attention, if we haven’t been convicted by the Gospel to change our lives, then is it the Gospel that we are reading?

“If I only accept the teachings of Jesus I like, it’s not Jesus I’m worshipping, it’s me,” Father Mike said. “If my God loves all the things I love, likes all the things I like and hates all the things I hate, who is made in the image of whom?”

There are consequences to belief. “I think you know by now that faith is not a feeling,” he said. “Real faith has to transcend feeling. Faith has to be more powerful than feelings.”

Abraham of the Old Testament has been called the father of faith. But it wasn’t because he “felt it,” Father Mike said. “We call Abraham the faith of our faith because God said leave your homeland and go to the promised land. And what did he do? He did it.” The people of that time lived a certain way because God told them to. They worshiped in a certain way, because God told them to.

If we believe something, we only believe it because it’s true,” he said. “Not just true for you. Not just true for me. But the truth. If Jesus is God that means everything He says is true. That’s why faith is a virtue.

There are moments in our lives when it would be convenient if Christianity weren’t true. “That’s why faith is holding on to things you reason has accepted in spite of your changing moods. It is saying yes to God.”

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Who is Jesus and what does He teach us SEEK keynoters Father Mike Schmitz and Sister Bethany Madonna reveal that faith is more than a feeling 8266

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