“Who Do You Say That I Am”

who-am-iJust like St. Luke, I say unto you that, “I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence just for you,” most excellent and faithful St. Sebastian parishioners.

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written, “I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be, I can’t be right for somebody else, If I’m not right for me, I gotta be free, I gotta be free…”

I’m just kidding, that’s not what Jesus said.

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written,  “Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew When I bit off more than I could chew, But through it all, when there was doubt I ate it up and spit it out…”

I’m just kidding, that’s not what Jesus said.

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written, “I am what I am, And what I am needs no excuses, I deal my own deck, Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces…”

I’m just kidding, that’s not what Jesus said.

Have you ever heard of “Johari’s Window?”  It’s a tool used in seminaries for self identity and learning about others.  I’m sure businesses have used it.  It’s very helpful for yourself and in working with…well, people.

Picture a window with four panes and you have the Johari quadrants.
Window Pane Number One is what I know about myself and what you know about me (and what I think you know about me). Pretty simple stuff, isn’t it?

Window Pane Number Two (I sound like Monty Hall) is what you see or perceive in me that I do not perceive and me to you.  Now, Window Pane Number Two gets trickier and also uncomfortable.

Now, grab onto your pew. How about things I know about myself that you do not know?  That’s Window Pane Number Three.  It’s the secrets we keep.  And that’s okay.  (We should all have secrets…even in marriage…keeps everything fresh and edgy.  (I can imagine couples leaving the parking lot after Mass today and asking, “Honey dear?” “Yes?” “What haven’t you told me!”)

Then there’s Window Pane Number Four, it’s stuff that are unknown by any of us, about ourselves.  I know it’s early in the morning but you get the idea.

These are perceptions in life – realized or unrealized by each of us and all kinds of stuff known and unknown by those we encounter or even have known for many years.

Let’s see.  What should we call Window Pane Number Four.  It needs to have a churchy sound to it.  How about “mystery?”  I love it.

I’m strutting through Mayfair Mall with my tail wagging, head held high and feeling all the glory of this glorious Mall within me.  Younger people pass me by and say to themselves, “What’s with that scraggly beard on that old guy?  Who does he think he is?”  I, of course, can’t hear their unspoken thoughts so I continue with my wagging and swinging. That combines Window Panes One and Two.

Perception.  Which perception is valid – yours or mine?  Johari would claim that both are.  In faith we claim that both contain pieces of the one big spiritual pie.  Both perceptions have insights but neither tell the whole story.

In faith, it’s Window Pane Number Four that draws us here to this sacred place on a cold 20 degree Sunday morning.  Because it is always about what we both don’t know.  Perception can be real or it can easily deceive.  God’s greatest gift to us besides life is Window Pane Number Four.

In our culture we say that “perception becomes reality.”  In faith we believe that our perceptions remain just perceptions, a small piece of a much larger pie.  That’s called trust.  We believe that that unknown God is made real to us through Jesus Christ and then lived through each of us.  We believe not because we want to believe but because we need to believe.

A parent feels strangled by her children’s constant need for attention and feels she’s failed in so many ways when this small thing that eats everything in sight thinks the world of her because the child’s world is her world.  (That’s all four windows combined.)  You retire and a year later you find yourself in pajamas at three in the afternoon and decide that this is not who you are.  (This one is solely Window Pane Number One.)  A widow or widower still feels the sting of that death and friends think to themselves about them, “I admire that person – so strong and resilient.”  (Windows One and Two.)

During the three short years of Jesus’ ministry – he’s perceived as a great prophet when he unrolled that scroll, then that same night he’s called a fool for eating with sinners, he’s called a miracle worker for his many cures, then declared a wayward preacher among hundreds of other wayward preachers during his time, he’s dismissed by hearing, “He’s no different than the rest of us,” and demeaned as a jokester who told fanciful stories with twists and turns about God’s forgiving and merciful love.  Those are home runs for the Son of God in all four window panes.

At Alexian Village I see it everyday.  Her increasing blindness increases her listening.  Weird?  Walking gets more difficult so his patience intervenes.  St. Paul was right.  Hearing decreases and a more attentive hearing kicks in.  St. Paul was right.  Each part of the body needs each and every other part.  To lose one part is to lose a part of the whole.  To lose any one of you from me is somehow to lose a part of me.  To lose me makes for a dull, boring Mass for all of you.

I need you to keep me in check with my other “window panes” and you need me to remind you that those “window panes” exist.

It is so easy to be selfish in this First World country – we all have the means and are even subtly encouraged be selfish and self-centered.  It is difficult working with people.  We all have four “window panes” to prove it.  All four window panes belong to both you and me.

At the risk of being cute, I truly hope that Jesus, who we know him to be, is in the middle of all four window panes.  With Jesus between those four panes…
I can know myself better because of you and I can know you somewhat better and I can think I know what you’re thinking about me and you know what you’re thinking about me and you can know yourself a little better because of me which will help you be a better “you.”

Whew.  Now I’m all confused now with this window stuff.  Let’s try this once more. With Jesus in the middle – we can, together, have fun with Johari’s first three windows but seriously and diligently live the Window’s Fourth Pane, the mystery of that “unknown” that we celebrate here each week in the Eucharist and honor every day in our relationships.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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