Be Joyful Witnesses To Christ

Every Sunday, in fact, every celebration of the Eucharist is a ‘Little Easter.’  During the Easter Season, the Church not only recalls the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but is actually renewed in the life of the Risen Christ, through the life of the Holy Spirit. This life of the Risen Christ is the life of the Church. The Church is the body of believers, the Body of Christ, that is, you and me. No wonder the true believer is a joyful person!

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples for forty days. He wanted them to have no doubts that he is truly Risen. Death has no more power over him. Just before his Ascension, Jesus makes very clear the mission of the Church:

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.” (Matthew 28: 18 – 20)

This commission of Jesus is the work of every member of the Church. God has created each of us for some purpose, given us His Son as our Redeemer, and bestowed upon us the gifts of His Holy Spirit ‘for some benefit.’ (1 Corinthians 12: 7) Jesus established the Church as a means of keeping his promise to remain with us always. Through the Church, Jesus gives us the Sacraments. The whole purpose of all of these great gifts of God is to share his Divine Life with each of us. What a noble dignity and destiny we share!

In this most recent Easter Season, we have celebrated Baptisms, Confirmations, Holy Communions, Ordinations and Weddings. Every vocation in life has been represented at the altar of the Lord, and now we need every member to actively strive to grow in holiness and work to advance the Kingdom of God.

The first step of discipleship is to have a strong, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is our center, our origin, our final goal. He truly is the way, the truth, and the life. And he tells us no one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Every one of us is called to have a relationship with the Father (through Jesus), and with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit. As we cultivate these relationships, we grow in holiness, and the awareness of God’s will for our lives.

In our efforts to grow in holiness, how willing are we to change? How willing are we to live joyfully according to the teachings of Christ and the Commandments of God? Jesus is not only the Truth, but promised to give us the Spirit of Truth. Notice, the word Truth is single, not plural. There is such a thing as absolute truth. There cannot be more than one truth. Here is one of the greatest challenges of our day; relativism. People today seem quite comfortable with allowing others to live according to what they believe is true, without anyone telling them any different. How can there be more than one truth? No wonder there is so much chaos, division and violence in the world today.

Often today, people are swept up in this current of relativism which has become in recent years a tidal wave of influence. Are we content to simply go along with the latest popular trends of society and not make any waves? If so, the result will be the values of the world invading the Church and changing the values of disciples. Remember the commission of Jesus, the witness of believers is supposed to change the world!

Be joyful witnesses to Christ. Live your faith with humility, respect, courage, and conviction. This is our mission, and particularly the work of evangelization entrusted to the laity.

It is the proper duty of the lay faithful to proclaim the Gospel with an exemplary witness of life rooted in Christ and lived in temporal realities: family; professional commitment in the world of work, culture, science and research; the exercise of social, economic and political responsibilities. All secular human realities – both personal and social, including various environments and historical situations as well as structures and institutions – are the context in which the lay Christian lives and works. (Compendium Of The Social Doctrine Of The Church, #543)

When the Risen Christ is fully alive within us; when we are fully cooperating with the Holy Spirit, God’s Kingdom is advanced, and we find all the important things we search for in life. St. Paul teaches that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are these: love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22 – 23)

Let us not be like the foolish person sung about in the country song, who is looking for love in all the wrong places. Let us look for fulfillment only in Christ. Then, our only purpose in life is to lead others to the Treasure we have discovered!

Arcbishop Etienne

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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