The Problem With WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) | Pentecost Reflection

Gospel of John 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

John 20:19-23

Pentecost Reflection: What Would Jesus Do?

Do you remember when “What would Jesus do?” was a popular phrase?  It still is in some circles, but I remember in the late 2000s when everyone was wearing the rubber bracelets that had “WWJD?” printed on them. 

The more I think about this phrase, the more I do not like it.  The way it is phrased makes it sound like Jesus is simply a historical figure or somehow removed from our situation, who we recall to make a moral decision.  It is the equivalent of asking “What would Abraham Lincoln do?” 

The reality is that Jesus is not restricted to history or somehow removed from us but is present in every moment of our lives.  This is even more apparent as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday this weekend.  Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit  always and guiding us towards Heaven constantly. 

I think that a better way to phrase it is, “Jesus, what are you doing?”  When we are faced with a difficult decision, where is Jesus in our heart at that moment?  When suffering is present, where is Jesus in the midst of that suffering?  This differently worded phrase, “Jesus, what are you doing?” has the language of turning to God and being mindful of his presence in our daily lives.  Being mindful of God’s presence helps us to keep our identity centered as beloved children of God. 

I have found that this practice is helpful for all Catholics but, in a particular way, for those that are struggling with their mental health.  This week, consider reflecting on this different phrasing in your prayer life and see if it helps you to remember that the Holy Spirit is present in every moment of your day.

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