Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter, April 28
Do We Open Our Hearts to What God Is Asking of Us and Place the Exercise of Our Faith in the Forefront of Our Daily Lives? Living Our Faith, Truly Practicing That Which We Hold Dear, Means Hearing the Word of Our Lord and Keeping It.
“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” – words which speak to us today of God’s providential care which He has for His children, desiring that none be lost.
Several years ago, my wife and I used to belong to a motorcycle club, for we both owned and rode our own motorcycles for recreational reasons. It provided us with an opportunity to escape from the reality of the pressures of everyday life. Riding gave us that singular pleasure of unwinding and relaxing. The reason we left the club was due to a certain level of discomfort we felt when it came to some of their activities, which always seemed to interfere with what God was asking of us.
The club members were basically good people; many of the organized rides were to benefit the needs of the disadvantaged; but, most of the time, there appeared to be an absence of conscience on the part of the club as a whole, for many of its members would tend to ignore God’s Commandment of keeping the Sabbath holy. In other words, riding would always come first before worship.
And it was our consciences which almost always conflicted with the lack of conscience exhibited by the club in general. There were a few members, and I could count them on one hand, who felt the same as my wife and myself. But rather than being constantly at odds with the club, we left, so that we could always find the time to put God first.
The concept of opening our eyes and hearts to what God is asking of us, and placing the exercise of our faith in the forefront of our daily living, is what we find in our Readings for today.
In our First Reading, we see Saul (later known as Paul) and his traveling companion Barnabas, both filled with the Holy Spirit, continue their journey in spreading the Gospel message throughout various communities in Asia Minor, fulfilling all that the Spirit was asking of them. Such missions were not without its hardships, yet the ministry of spreading the Good News and giving God glory always came first.
And our Responsorial Psalm for today echoes the spirit of the growth of the Christian Church when the psalmist sings words of praise to God, “So shall your rule be known upon the earth, your saving power among all the nations.”
And it is this “saving power” which is constantly at work in those whose hearts are opened to the redeeming grace offered by the Spirit of God, offered to us due to the Merciful Love which our God has for each and every one of His children.
And we find in our Gospel Reading for today Jesus proclaiming, for the benefit of those whose hearts were opened to accepting His words of eternal life, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.”
But sadly, there were those who would not open the eyes or the ears of their hearts to His words of Truth. And to all those, including many of the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day.”
Living our faith, truly practicing that which we hold dear – means hearing the words of our Lord and keeping them. Jesus said, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
I am sure that many of our old biker friends do believe in God, that they do have some sort of a faith – and by doing good works is possibly their way of practicing that faith. But there is a real danger lurking in the shadows – a darkness which can envelop us if we are not careful, if we end up always rationalizing away the worship of God by replacing it with what we think is good. For that is one of the dangers of relativism – explaining away or justifying our actions and then relativizing God’s Truth so it is more in line with our own way of thinking!
Even Satan believes in God. The angel of darkness is very intelligent and has a knack, if you will, of fooling us, so that we end up making free-will choices which places our relationship with God somewhere way down on our list of priorities. And that is NOT where God should be in our daily lives.
Jesus tells us today, “I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”
And Saint Paul tells us in his Letter to the Philippians that even though Jesus “…was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
And He accomplished all this so that we might have eternal life, a gift available to all who live their faith focused on fulfilling God’s will in their lives. And God’s will is this –
God calls each of us to live the gift of faith we have been given as a holy example for others. If we claim to be a good Christian people, then it means that both you and I are to live the precepts which our Church teaches us.
If we are Catholic, that means going to Mass every Sunday including all Holy Days of Obligation, when possible; to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist frequently for the spiritual nourishment of our souls; to listen to and obey the teaching authority of the Church in all matters of faith and morals; and to a live a virtuous life, embracing the truths which our Lord gave to us contained within the Beatitudes.
And for all of God’s children, regardless of our particular faith persuasion, it means we are to live a good moral and upstanding life, as well as placing into practice the various spiritual and corporal works of mercy – truly caring for the emotional, spiritual and bodily needs of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
In addition, outside of living one’s life in selfless love, there are two virtues which our Merciful Lord impressed upon Saint Faustina which we find written in her dairy, Divine Mercy in My Soul – humility and obedience – humility in setting aside our own sense of pride and self-importance, and obedience to all that God is asking of us through His Bride, the Church.
When you and I place the practice of our faith high on our list of priorities – ahead of recreational activities, ahead of sports games, ahead of yard work, ahead of getting that extra thirty minutes of sleep – there is a real peace which does envelop us, for it is His Light, and not the darkness of sin, which fills our very being!
To be truly happy in our faith means to live it with a clear conscience, knowing that we have put Jesus first. And one day, with the help of His grace, you and I will hear our Lord say to us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
It is our Lord’s way of sincerely thanking us for placing Him first in our lives and truly living our love for Him. †
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
- “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
- “Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.’” (John 12:44)
- “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day.” (John 12:48)
- “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
- “…set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12b)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’” (John 3:3)
- “[Christ Jesus]…through he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
- “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us…” (Titus 5:1-2a)
Prayer for the Day
“Eternal and Most Loving God,Salvation Prayer
I recognize that I have not truly lived
my life for You up until now.
I have been living for myself and I now realize that is wrong.
I need You in my life; I desire You in my life.
“I acknowledge the completed work
of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in giving His life
for me on the Cross at Calvary,
and I long to receive the forgiveness You have made
freely available to me through this sacrifice.
“Come into my life now, Lord.
Take up residence in my heart
and be my King, my Lord and my Savior.
“From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin,
or the desire to please myself,
but I will follow You all the days of my life.
Those days I now place in Your hands.
I ask this in Jesus’ Most Precious and Holy Name. Amen.”