Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter, May 18
May the Example We Set for Others Truly Be the Testimony We Give to God’s Love; for, within Each of Us, There Lies a Great Thirst for His Loving Presence.
Many years ago, I had a business client who professed being Christian, but showed no evidence of it in the way he ran his business, treated his partners, and in the way he treated his employees, especially those who were members of a racial or ethnic minority.
He was a true relativist; in other words, only his truth mattered, and as long as whatever decisions he made did not hurt himself or the “bottom line” for his company, then everything must be okay. Unfortunately, many people would become hurt through his decisions and actions.
And many of his employees were afraid of quitting, for they needed the job to feed their families, and they were afraid that, once unemployed, they might not be able to find another job, for the economy at that time was not very healthy.
Eventually, my business relationship with this individual and his company came to an end. What is truly sad is that his way of thinking and conduct is not out of the ordinary in today’s world of free enterprise. In other words, when it comes to businesses turning a profit, Christian charity and kindness can oftentimes and very sadly take a back seat to greed and personal success and power.
Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. There are many, many good Christian business people out there. But this other reality which I just described also exists, and it is more prevalent than we may realize or wish to admit.
It is in the very way we treat others, no matter what their sex, creed, color or ethnicity may be, which shows who we are as a Christian people. And by living our lives in such a way that we give true witness to our faith, we end up testifying to our character and our love for God. And this is a theme which we find coursing throughout today’s Readings.
In our First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Luke is continuing to paint us a picture of how the Spirit is guiding Paul and the other missionaries in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, and how a Grecian family turned to God and the members of her household were baptized – echoing the words our Lord gives us in today’s Gospel –
“…the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also will testify…”
Giving witness to our faith – through our words and actions – becomes the testimony we give of ourselves as a Christian people – about who we are and the love Christ asks us to share with others, in imitation of His own Love which He freely gives to each of us.
However, giving witness faithfully in today’s world does not come without its crosses! Yet, it is God’s Spirit who strengthens us, as He strengthened the disciples and martyrs of the early Church in the witness they gave.
And Jesus warned them about the persecutions they would face when He said, “I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”
And He continues by saying, “They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.”
I would like us to take a moment and think about an imagined occurrence. If someone like Paul would wander through the streets of New York City today, how do we think he would be received? Would the hearts of many walking the streets of New York be opened to his message of love and salvation, as was Lydia in our First Reading? Or do you think the ideology of relativism and the secular attractions of this world would drown out his message?
What if he came and stood on the corner of some neighborhood or community closer to us – say the town or city in which we live? Would our response be any different? Do we think that most people would be tolerant and open-minded enough to hear what he has to say, and prayerfully begin to transform their lives for the better?
The truth is – he IS standing on the corners of each and every one of our neighborhoods! The Gospel message is being preached throughout the world. So the question then becomes – is anyone truly listening?
In spite of what we may see in the news or read in the newspapers, or even experience in real life, there are many of God’s children who are truly trying to live the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. There are also many people of non-Christian religions who are living a Christ-like life by the love and charity they show towards others.
And the practice of our faith by placing Christ at the very heart of our lives begins in the home. For those of us who are parents, we become the primary nurturers of our faith when it comes to the raising of our children and instructing them in the truth of God’s abiding Love.
When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI came to the United States in 2008, in a speech he gave to the nation’s bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, he said, “The family is…the primary place for evangelization, for passing on the faith, for helping young people to appreciate the importance of religious practice and Sunday observance.”
He was emphasizing the fact that strong Christian families, which are prayerful and filled with love, contribute to a stable and moral development of our children – for it is families who become the first witness to the Love of Christ. Moms and dads, who are faith-filled people, become those who testify to Jesus Christ first, and it is the witness they give by their very lives wherefrom their children first see and learn, and begin within themselves the process of their own faith development.
For those of us who are parents or grandparents, if we truly live the faith which we profess, our children and grandchildren will recognize the love we hold for God which we live within us, and they will, prayerfully, take our example to heart, as they begin their own journey of faith.
May the example we set for others truly be the testimony we give to His Love. For within each of us – grandparent, parent or child – there lies a great thirst for God Loving Presence.
And with the help of His grace, may each one of us, one day, be able to drink from that blessed wellspring – from the fountain of His infinite and indescribable Love which He has for both you and me!
Then, and only then, shall we find our thirst for God’s Love forever quenched! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also will testify…” (John 15:26-27a)
- “I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.” (John 16:1-3)
- “Show yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized…” (Titus 2:7-8a)
- “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2a)
- “Make me understand the way of your precepts; I will ponder your wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 119:27)
- “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
- “And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)
- “On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, ‘Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’’” (John 7:37-38; cf. Ezekiel 47:1-9)
- “But whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,Anonymous
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”