23 August, Sunday — The hands, the feet, the eyes of Christ, will you say ‘YES’?

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isa 22:19-23
Rm 11:33-36
Mt 16:13-20

 “But you, who do you say I am?

When asked, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit answers correctly. 

My answer, due to my prayer life and our Catholic faith, has certainly grown and deepened over the years. What answer would you give to that question at work? At home? With your friends? With non believers? 

Today, many people believe that Jesus is a fairytale…A magician…A phony…A fraud… Some even say Jesus was a good man, but not the Messiah, not the Saviour of the world, but as C.S. Lewis pointed out, Jesus can’t be a just ‘good man’, as he is a Liar, a Lunatic or who he said he is — Christ.

IF the way we live tells others WHO we are, what we believe as Catholic Christians of WHO GOD is, is it any wonder that so few, even of our Catholic brothers & sisters, are living our lives in such a way that people are clamoring to know what is our secret to life…. how can we have such joy every day??? 

If our daily words, daily actions are the barometer of ‘a Christian’, would we be sailing or sinking in our Lord’s request to ‘make disciples of all men’?  Is that even a once a day thought, to act upon this request of Jesus? I know, as a church in America, we have a few pockets of people sharing the gospel, but as a whole we simply aren’t. Many (most?) Catholics, even those who are full and true believers, live under the thought process of ‘I don’t really know enough to share accurately, and I don’t want to say the wrong thing, or insult them, so I will say nothing’.  We don’t want to be prideful, and yet therein lies the evidence of us falling into the temptation that it’s even about us, and the enemy wins. And the worst part is, in trying NOT to be prideful, we actually are committing the sin of pride of being so focused on ourselves in that we don’t want to look stupid, wrong, uneducated, unintelligent or naïve in front of others.

I have two wonderful friends, one I’ve known for almost 50 years, the other about 5 years. They are both non-believers, see the bible and religion as man-made to hold power over others, and though they love me and respect much of my opinion, on this they have a condescending nature whenever I bring up Christ. When I mention Jesus or aspects of our faith, they literally dismiss my words as irrelevant. Once, one even said (and the other agreed) to me, “Seriously, Jesus is dead, just like Abraham Lincoln. You’re just believing in fairytales.” Sometimes, I feel caught between 2 scriptures, ‘don’t throw pearls before swine’ and ‘give a reason for your faith’. Yet, if Christ is who he said he is, how can I NOT acknowledge that in all circumstances?  When do I hold the pearls and shake the dust from my feet, and when do I share a reason for my faith? Without prayer and discernment, I would have chosen to just keep my opinion to myself (that is definitely easier). But in prayer, God has reminded me to love; to NOT be defensive, to share when inspired and to always show love and acceptance of their opinions. In scripture, Christ isn’t defensive, so I have been looking to that as guidance.

As Catholic believers, we know Jesus IS who HE SAID HE IS. But do we really live like we know that? If we honestly did, many of us would live differently. If we really believed what our faith teaches us, what He has revealed to us, we would stand out in this world because with great love, we would take care of each others’ needs. We would be the living hands and feet of Christ. We would have justice and equality and peace on earth. It would never be about power, about my way, about you losing so that I win.  It would never be ‘them’ and ‘us’; it would simply be all of us. All.

Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth buy yours.
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are the body.        
St. Teresa of Avila

Why is it so difficult to love everyone, to honestly LIVE what we say we believe? 

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer:  Father God, we are so grateful for your mercy in giving us our faith. In entrusting us to be the hands, the feet, the eyes, the body of Christ. We ask that you convict us daily of our calling and of Christ’s request for us to share the gospel, with our words, but more so with our actions so that our words are not necessary.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father God, for all the hands and feet and eyes that your have put in our path to show us how to be like your son.  Thank you for our Catholic faith and for revealing to us the power of love.

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