An uncomfortable awareness

Recently a visiting missionary priest presented the congregation with an interesting scenario and a compelling question. He said, “Suppose for a moment that tomorrow morning when you step outside your front door you were to find Jesus physically standing there waiting for you. There he stands beside you with his long hair and beard, clothed in a dazzling white robe with his name embroidered in gold letters above his heart and he tells you that for today you don’t have to concern yourself with anything at all because he has your back and he will speak for you, work for you, do for you all that is needed and necessary.” Then he asked, “Do you believe your behavior would be any different than any other day?

I am always with you

I am always with you

The collective silence provided all the affirmation that was necessary. The question provoked an uncomfortable awareness for most, an embarrassing realization that what we outwardly profess to believe (our faith) is often completely in opposition to how we interiorly exemplify it. At the heart of the question rests the reality that far too many of us view faith as a mere declarative which requires nothing more than a cursory declaration of belief, a simple statement that affirms, “I believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior” or “I believe in God, the Father Almighty.”

But faith, to which I mean true faith in God, requires more than a detached recitation of belief. “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God”[1] and that demands a steadfast devotion and fidelity above and beyond an utterance of words. Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that faith is an act of the intellect.[2] Acts obligate one to action and actions always speak louder than words.

The final chapter of the Gospel of Matthew ends with what biblical scholars call the Great Commission. It is where Jesus says to his disciples (and to each one of us,) “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”[3] It is here that Jesus clearly tells us where he will always be for he says “I am with you always” and that means yesterday, today, and all the tomorrows yet to come. He has commissioned us to move beyond our own personal statement of faith and to go out and gather everyone unto him.

In truth we are called by Jesus to live our faith as intentional disciples reaching beyond what is least required and accepting what is demanded by the Great Commission. It is our sacred duty, commissioned by God’s only Son, to know, live, and share our faith with others. We cannot call ourselves Christian if our lives do not reflect open affection and true devotion to Jesus Christ. Our faith demands an unwavering willingness and eagerness to profess it, live it, suffer for it, and at times even to die in defense of it.

So knowing that Jesus is always with you,  you might behave accordingly as you step outside your door.

 

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 150.

[2] Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II, 2, 9.

[3] Mt 28:18-20.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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