In Luke 17:5 the Apostles ask Jesus: “Increase our faith.” This, too, should be our constant prayer. Faith is always demanding, because faith leads us beyond ourselves. It leads us directly to God. Faith also imparts a vision of life’s purpose and stimulates us to action. Christ has commanded us to let the light of the Gospel shine forth in our service to society. And yet, how can we profess faith in God’s word, and then refuse to let it inspire and direct our thinking, our activity, our decisions, and our responsibilities towards one another?
Today, we find some Catholics are tempted to discouragement or disillusionment. They are tempted to cry out to God in different ways: why does God not intervene when violence threatens his people; why does God let us see ruin and misery; why does God permit evil? We need to remember that our waiting for God is never in vain. Every moment is our opportunity to model ourselves on Jesus Christ – to allow the power of the Gospel to transform our personal lives and our service to others, according to the spirit of the Beatitudes. There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy or cross that Christ has not already faced and conquered. This is the everlasting anchor of our faith.
Openness to the Lord – a willingness to let the Lord transform our lives and enliven our faith – should produce a renewed spiritual and missionary vitality among us. Christian witness takes different forms at different moments in our lives and in the life of our nation. Sometimes, witnessing to Christ will mean drawing out of a culture the full meaning of its noblest intentions, a fullness that is revealed in Christ. At other times, witnessing to Christ means challenging that culture, especially when the truth about the human person is under assault.
Today, the challenge facing us is to find freedom’s fulfillment in the truth: the truth that is intrinsic to human life created in God’s image and likeness, the truth that is written on the human heart, the truth that can be known by reason and can therefore form the basis of a profound and universal dialogue among people about the direction they must give to their lives and their activities.
As Christians in the BCBP Community, we must actively respond to St. Paul’s charge to Timothy! “Guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us” (2 Tim 1:14). Pope John Paul II challenges us to “guard the truth that is the condition of authentic freedom, the truth that allows freedom to be filled in goodness. We must guard the deposit of divine truth handed down to us in the Church, especially in view of the challenges posed by a materialistic culture and by a permissive mentality that reduces freedom to license. But we … must do more than guard this truth. We must proclaim it, in season and out of season; we must celebrate it with God’s people, in the sacraments; we must live it in charity and service; we must bear public witness to the truth that is Jesus Christ.”
What are the challenges facing you today? How can you as an individual, and you as a BCBP member in community, respond to these challenges in the fullness of truth and faith in God and in Jesus Christ?
Luke 17:5; 2 Tim 1:6-10,14; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thess 3:9-13; Galatians 5:1,5-6,13; 6:9-10.