Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Our witness to love our enemies, and to so live that we attract them to Christ and the Church, is a union with Christ's sacrifice

Monday after Eleventh Sunday in Course

June 14, 2010

You Will Be My Witnesses

There’s something satisfying in seeing the smiting of the evildoer. “Ah, justice is done, finally,” we say when someone gets his comeuppance. But God does not desire the death of the sinner in his sin. The loss of even one soul diminishes us all. So Ahab got his vineyard, the reward of perjury and murder and conspiracy, but we all know that there is still to come the “rest of the story,” in which both Ahab and Jezebel die awful deaths.

But our calling as Catholics goes beyond that. Faced with evil, Jesus admonishes us to do good. If someone forces us to go one kilometer, we must go two. The witness of love of enemies is a powerful thing. The refusal to take revenge on an opponent can literally change hearts.

Archbishop Gomez tells us that our witness, our evangelization is always profoundly ecclesial and intensely Eucharistic. We are here nourished by the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood, and called to bear witness to the gift by making our lives a form of worship to God. (11) We know from the example of Jesus that our sacrifice of our lives, even by offering them to those who don’t appreciate the gift, is an offering of praise immensely acceptable to God. When joined to Christ’s sacrifice, our own offering is salvific.

We evangelize in the context of our ordinary jobs, by sharing our faith in the workplace. In the first place, as I’ve said last week, we must “lead a good Christian life–to show courtesy, concern and respect for . . .co-workers; to perform. . .work well, and to always radiate the joy of Christ with a cheerful and positive attitude.” (12)

In the course of a given day, we may have opportunities to share the faith. “In talking with co-workers about the issues of the day, you can offer the perspective of the Church and Catholic thinking; if you encounter questions or challenges to the Church’s teachings, you can provide a reasoned response and perhaps suggest certain readings from the Catechism” or other Church documents. Being well-read in Catholic literature gives us an advantage.

The Archbishop encourages us to develop in ourselves attitudes of service–“seek to serve God and your brothers and sisters every day, through all that you do and say, through the way that you live your life. People respond more to example than to ‘teaching.’ Testify to your faith through your daily habits and actions.”

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