Becoming Luminaries of God

Majority of Catholics, these days, are not strongly inclined towards evangelization. One reason may be that the Catholic Church is highly institutional, sacramental and hierarchical in its structures. Another could be that many Catholics of our day seem never to have encountered the risen Christ. They know something about him, from the teachings of the church, but they lack direct personal familiarity with Christ. Whatever may be the reason, we cannot forget the command the risen Lord gave to his church: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15).

3rd Sunday of EasterSt. Pope John Paul II had been stressing the need for new evangelization, which includes evangelization of those who are already baptized…it makes the task that the church is facing more urgent: to rekindle in the heart of the baptized the grace they received.

First and foremost, we should know that our lukewarm Catholics could be re-evangelized only by being witness. Jesus never said, “You shall be my preachers.” He said, “You shall be my witnesses.” It is quite possible to be a great preacher, without being a witness for Christ. It is also possible to be a great and living witness for Christ without being a preacher. 

Some of us can be witnesses through speaking; but all of us can be witnesses through living. We do not have physical experience with Jesus as the Apostles had, but we can have even now the spiritual experience of the risen power of Jesus, through the reception of the sacraments.

It would have been a great thing if Jesus had written the Gospel himself, but he did not write a single world. Nor did he ask his disciples to write about him. He did not tell them, “I am going to dictate, take down notes.” Why? Because he relied on his spiritual presence in our hearts so that we can imbibe his spirit and become life witnesses for him. Therefore, all of us baptized in the power of the Spirit of Jesus and growing in his Spirit through the reception of the sacraments, can truly be witnesses for Christ, through our living.

Grandfather of a Jewish philosopher Martin Buber was lame. One day they asked him to tell a story about his teacher, and he related how his master used to hop and dance while he prayed. The old man rose as he spoke and was so swept away by his story that he himself began to hop and dance to show how his master did it. From that moment he was cured of his lameness. When we tell the story of Christ, we achieve two things. We enable others to experience him and we ourselves experience his power even more. We can see that happening in today’s Gospel.

We can become luminaries of God by telling the story of Jesus to our spouses, children and neighbors. Are you ready and willing for it?

In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church