February 3, 2017
LIFE IS TO BE LIVED!
Words are cheap. Actions matter. God remakes the world with our deeds, not our intentions. What distinguishes real faith from surface piety is whether we actually do what we say we believe.
This is why elected officials — and even everyday clergy and laypeople —who claim to be Catholic but whom disregard their religious beliefs in their personal lives and public actions are so damaging to the common good. They claim to follow Christ and his Church with their words, but show how unimportant Christ is to them by their living witness.
Our mission as disciples is not simply to pass along good morals to our children, or convey a sense of God's hand in the world. These things are vital, of course, but they don't exhaust our vocation. Our mission is to bring the world to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ to the world. Each of us is a missionary, and our primary work is the conversion of our own hearts and the hearts of others, so that someday the whole world will acknowledge Jesus Christ as humanity's only savior and Lord.
That's a big task. We can't do it by just "dialoguing" about it, any more than Christ could redeem us by writing an essay on sin. The Gospels have power because they tell the story of what God did; what his only Son did; and what Christ's followers did. The Passion accounts of Christ's suffering and death move us so deeply because they show in bitter detail how unashamedly God loves us.
This is the hot spark at the heart of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" and every other sincere attempt to tell the Passion story. God spared not even his own Son in saving us. No wonder the cross draws the eye of great artists again and again down the centuries. The blood of the cross reminds us that — at least on one day in history — love had no limits. And since then, everything has been different.
God built the Church we've inherited through the love of generations of believers. Their witness made our faith possible. It's now our turn to shape the future by the zeal we bring to our own daily witness. It's our turn to act. It's our turn to live our Catholic faith with all the courage and strength Christ brought to loving the Church he founded.
Living our Catholic faith means making our Catholic beliefs the anchor of our lives; living them all the time every day, both in our private homes and our public choices; living them in our families, friendships, work environments and social and political decisions. Anything less is lukewarm. Anything less ignores Christ’s call to be leaven in the world and “make disciples of all nations.”