Dear Fellow Parishioners,
God uses us when we make ourselves available to Him. I believe many of us are in a habit of attending Mass once a week. What a beautiful time that is to spend with God through the Eucharist! However, that is not where it ends for the week. I was one of those. Check! I went to church. I felt good. I had done my Christian duty for the week. Back to my busy week with worldly everyday grind. I will go to church next week and do it all over again. It was a repeatable routine.
I’ve come to realize by reading the Bible more deeply that some of us are missing the boat. The Old Testament tells us about God leading his chosen people over thousands of years. In his covenant, God offers his grace to his people: the forgiveness of their sins, the shaping of their lives in this world to reflect his own glory, and a part to play in bringing light to the Gentiles. The New Testament tells us about Jesus dying for our sins, his Eucharistic covenant, and his promise to always be with us. Over the course of my reading, I’ve discovered that I limited my understanding of the message to the feel-good side of things: Jesus died for my sins. He is always with me. He is there to catch me when I fall. It’s a private matter between Jesus and me? Yeah! That’s easy enough.
Is it really that simple? I don’t think so. We are called to labor for our Lord. There are hundreds of these verses in the Bible.
Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Romans 10:14 – How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Matthew 9:37-38 – Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Matthew 12:30 – Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
John 12:26 – If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Evangelism is the preaching of the Lord with the intention of exposing God’s love to all mankind through Jesus Christ. It’s still a scary term to me. However, I have learned recently through our “Reach More” program that I need to make better use of my week and use my charisms to help build the kingdom of God. Going to church is for me. It’s a private matter. Talking to others during the week about Christianity is for God. It’s a public matter. Are we truly serving God if we don’t? I’m never going to be the preachy type, but I have other God-given charisms that I can expose. Just do it. Figure out in your own spirituality what “doing it” means, using your own talents, and experience the Holy Spirit guarding your tent, while you labor for God. “For he will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”
As we enter the Lenten season this year, our church has taken on another “first”. There are 23 of us going through a program facilitated by Todd Gale that gives us direction on forming small, religious study groups. Jill and I are doing it. What does “doing it” mean? It means whatever Jill and I decide it to mean. It’s that simple. On a weekly basis, we will host a group of folks in our home, and we will discuss religious matters. It could be the weekly homily, a discussion of a CD, a Bible study, the Reach More materials–whatever we choose it to be. We are going to gather and not scatter. We hope to “Reach More” so that others can “Come and See”. According to the Bible, it’s our job as disciples of God. God Bless.
Pastoral Council President