Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Repentance and the New Evangelization

Psalm 15, our reponse to the first reading, begins with verse 2.  In verse one we would read:
“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy mountain?”

In verse 2 and 3 we get the response: “He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.”

The Scriptures are continually calling us back to God. Common to human beings, we become distracted and stray. 

As the Gospel reading today tells us, God always calls us back. Jesus’ whole mission was “to seek and to save what was lost.”

In a sense, the New Evangelization isn’t new; it is living out today’s Gospel.  The New Evangelization is different from the Church’s mission to Evangelize.  The New Evangelization is the proclamation of the Gospel to those who have already heard it and have strayed or who have—most commonly and in the words of St. John today “grown lukewarm”.

Christ’s purpose for reaching out to Zaccheus was to invite him back, to allow him the opportunity to repent and to recommit his life to God.

Zacchaeus would then be an example spoken of in Psalm 15, he would then inspire others to live the same faith.

That is how the New Evangelization feeds the Church’s mission to evangelize.

We open our hearts and minds to God’s compassion, receive His forgiveness, renews ourselves with God’s love and recommit ourselves to our faith and relationship with Christ.

Then, we become living examples of the Gospel in everything we do and others, seeing our example, may be drawn to Christ.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Witnessing and Telling: the actions of a Christian

Yesterday’s Gospel presented us with a key component of the Christian life: one of action.  It is not possible to be a Christian without nurturing a relationship with Christ and sharing our faith with others.

This is emphasized today by the patron saint of our parish: John “gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.”

We are called to do the same thing.  However, we can’t witness to that we haven’t heard nor tell of things we haven’t seen.

That is why prayer is so important.  It is the opportunity to sit down and to focus of God alone, to communicate with Him.  Not just telling him about our day and our needs, but—most importantly—listening to Him.

In addition, we gather here to be nourished not just by His Word, but by His body and blood in the Eucharist.  The graces we receive here not only nourish us, but also heal us that we may see with the eyes of faith.  That is what allows us to see how Christ is at work in our lives and in our world.  Then, we are able to truly report what we have seen, that others may be encouraged to listen and to look.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Living as Christ

This week we have been challenged by the Scriptures to (in the words of St. Leo the Great) “surrender to Christ”.  The Christian life is a process of conversion of mind and heart, focusing totally on Christ.

In this process, we also continue to do the work of Christ in the world. St. Paul this morning reminds us that we are to help one another in living the Gospel. We do so:

1.      By the example of our own lives
2.      By encouraging others
3.      And when necessary lovingly challenging others.

The Gospel today calls upon us to recognize the opportunities that we will have today to serve Christ himself. This emphasizes the importance of what we do here at this moment as well as our individual daily prayer.

It is through our prayer, our hearing the scriptures, our prayer together as a family of faith and the reception of the Eucharist that our ears are tuned to the voice of the Lord, our eyes opened to see with the eyes of faith.

We are then able to recognize Christ in those we come across and in very simple ways, and perhaps bigger ways, show our love for Christ in our acts of charity and service.

These actions are not to make us feel good (although that may happen) or simply to create order (another possible side effect). They are the minimum expectation of the Christian and an extension of our prayer to God.