Genesis 18: 20-32 Colossians 2: 12-14 Luke 11: 1-13
Any form of prayer is an indication of our response and assent to Faith which is turned to be our Belief. Belief can be of either a positive or a negative nature, depending on the response and assent of the individual or the society. But our individual or collective Belief does not, and cannot, alter Faith in any way since Faith is the subject of our Belief, and not the other way around, as some people may hold that to be the case. The desire within us to cling to God is for our own good and the good of the society. Most of the time, if not always, this desire is misconstrued and misapplied to satisfy oneself to a degree that we become renegades in the eyes of God and the society.
God does not need us; rather, we need God. No matter the degree of our sinfulness, we have been redeemed and given all the needed graces and accoutrements to be on our way to eternal salvation in Heaven. There is nothing to hold back, and there is no hidden agenda on the part of God to give us the promise of eternal salvation. We need to trust in God with a positive response and assent, rather than to have a negative attitude towards God and die in our sinfulness. This core message ought to be proclaimed regardless of the state of our souls. There is no need to transform everybody at once; yet if we help transform a soul, starting with ourselves, through a proper and meaningful process of a metanoia, that is repentance, there would be many souls on the path to eternal salvation. It is our duty to help everybody to have a positive belief in the core message of the Good News of Salvation that is devoid of any personal discolorations and colorations. Christ’s message of love and mercy has to be made viable, available and doable at all times and places, as we have an attitude of not turning back to our former egocentric sinful way of life.
(Genesis 18: 1-10 Colossians 1: 24-28 Luke 10: 38-42)
In our effort to spread the Good News, we more often than not try to please others as we share our time, talent and treasure with others. There is nothing wrong with that if we only give the ultimate glory, honor, and praise to God. For that reason, we need a divine assistance to help us avoid any inkling of arrogating to ourselves the ultimate glory, honor, and praise as strive to accomplish the work entrusted to us. Trying to spread the Good News without the assistance of the grace of God is a recipe of a disastrous enterprise. What we are experiencing in our time now are examples of a society having bad spiritual health: religious apathy, perpetration of evil in the name of God, preference of mundane matters to spiritual matters, and moral decadence.
Most of us have so much time to enhance the health of the body through various physical exercises. But, do we have the same energy and time to have spiritual exercises to keep our souls healthy? There is the urgent need for us to have vigorous spiritual exercises to have the ability to meet the demands of both the spiritual and corporal aspects of spreading the Good News. Our over preference of mundane things to spiritual things makes us pay an unbalanced attention to the corporal needs of people to the neglect of their spiritual needs. The seven spiritual acts of mercy, namely counselling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the dead, need to be part of our efforts to spread the Good News, together with the seven corporal acts of mercy. We can actually come to the understanding of the spiritual acts of mercy when we are well grounded spiritually through rigorous spiritual exercises. Giving some attention to spiritual exercises would generally assist us to meet both the spiritual and corporal needs of the society since we shall have the recourse to, and the succor of, the grace of God to accomplish the responsibilities of our purpose here on earth to know, love, and serve God.
(Deuteronomy 30: 10-14 Colossians 1: 15-20 Luke 10: 25-37)
Our inability to effectively spread the Good News of Salvation to all people at all times stems from the problem of egocentrism since with egocentrism we judge everything by our perceived and convinced standards which we hold as absolutes. With this attitude brought into Christianity, we only pick and choose the most comfortable aspects of Christianity that have euphoric and sentimental outlooks but that fail to attend to the very core of what Christianity is all about. Seeing Christianity as a way to comfort oneself prevents any effort to spread the Good News by way of giving a positive witness to Christ for the fear of sharing in the suffering of Christ which is a way of giving witness to Christ. C. S. Lewis would put this better by saying “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity”.
Christianity is certainly not for the comfort of oneself, as many assume it is the case; rather, it is a religion to strip oneself of egocentrism so that all elements of arrogant boasting will give way to the grace of God needed to live out the life of Christ through a genuine love for one another. Indeed, self-centeredness has eaten up and eroded the social fabric to an extent that it seems everything has fallen and is falling apart. The Christian message is messed up with selfishness to a point that the essence of the message is deleted and drowned by our ultraconservative egocentrism. The essence of Christ needs to be revisited and be brought back to the social matrix in order to restore our present and future fortunes. W. B. Yeats would describe this situation of ours today in his The Second Coming: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. If Christ is removed from our lives, we would have nothing to hold on to for true references; chaos and anarchy would be our lot, for all things would be done without grace but disgrace due to our inordinate selfishness.
(Isaiah 66: 10-14 Galatians 6: 14-18 Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20)
The utmost worship one can give to God is to be obedient to the will of God. This is spelled out in the first three tenets of the Decalogue. To achieve this, we ought to accord God all glory, honor, praise, thanksgiving, and power, for without the Breath of God in us we can to do nothing. This is very crucial as we go forth to proclaim the Good News, witnessing to the efficacy of the same Good News. In this way, we avoid any attempt to boast and arrogate to ourselves the strength and ability to accomplish what has been entrusted to us. For this reason, St Paul would remind us that we possess an important treasure in earthen vessels so that the grandeur of the power at work in us may be from God, and not from ourselves.
Like St Peter and St Paul who gave complete witnesses to Jesus Christ to the point of death, despite their weak human natures, so we too must give a complete witness to Jesus Christ notwithstanding our individual and collective human weaknesses. No heavenly angels would be chosen and sent out to give witness to Christ; we sinful weak human beings would be chosen for this noble task. All we have to do is to acknowledge that our weakness lays claim to the strength of God. It is with a spirit of humble obedience that we would allow the Spirit of God take full control of us by activating in us all that is needed to proclaim the Good News without any fear of persecution. If we only know and believe that nothing can ever destroy our immortal souls, any kind of suffering we endure on account of the Good News would be counted as naught.
(I Kings 19: 16, 19-21 Galatians 5: 1, 13-18 Luke 9: 51-62)
The urgent need for us to set all the corners of the world ablaze with the joy of the Good News of Salvation through evangelization is paramount; there are no excuses for us to delay in answering and responding to the call to let all the earth experience the effect of the Good News of Salvation.
There is, in fact, no need to worry as to what to declare to the world because the core message is that Jesus Christ has taken away the sins of the world, and for that reason, we can no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus Christ. It is here that most of us find it so difficult to follow since we still hold on to our past self-seeking ways that offer us an apparent, unfulfilling, and transient satisfaction. The reason and essence of Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension are all that we ought to announce to the world, as we bear in mind the need to implore the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit in all matters of evangelization. This can be done if only we are so willing to get rid of our prideful self-seeking entitlement and glorification. Calling to mind that we are just earthly vessels carrying the Good News of Salvation would be a welcoming platform to reassess the way we disseminate the Good News of Salvation. We ought to spread the essence of what is contained in the vessels through the vessels; we do not spread the essence of the vessels through what is contained in the vessels.