Summary: Only if we love Christ and experience His love for us will we want to share Him with others.

Monday after Pentecost

May 24, 2010

You Will Be My Witnesses

The readings from today’s Gospel give us a clear and bold testimony about how the first generation of Christ’s disciples lived out the command of Jesus to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Peter, writing to the churches of Asia Minor, summarizes the gospel they preached and lived. It was first of all a proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and our claim to an imperishable inheritance in Christ. Without hope of our own purification and transformation, this life is nothing but pain, tedium and disappointment. This is the faith and hope that is more precious than 24 caret gold. This is the faith that brings us joy even in the midst of pain. This is the joy that the rich young man turned his back on because he had too much “stuff,” but that the apostles gave up everything to obtain.

Our archbishop tells us that this faith-brought salvation is not for us alone. If we are saved through Christ, we see Christ so that we might share Him. God revealed “his Son to us in order that we might proclaim him”. . .and share the blessings we have received with everyone whose lives we touch.

“Proclaiming Christ includes everything that we do, in word or in deed, to bear witnesses [sic] to our faith in him. We proclaim Christ by our way of life.”. . . “it is the duty of every believer.” [3] This is a “fundamental dimension of our Christian life and identity.” If we know Jesus Christ and the love of Christ, “we will want to share that knowledge and love with everyone we meet.” If we don’t share Him, there is something wrong with our knowledge or our love, either of God or of our neighbor.

Let me share a story I recall from my short time as a religious. One of the young brothers came from a large family. He was a little downbeat in his approach, but seemed happy in his own way. His director called him in one day and, in the course of direction, suggested that he challenge his younger brother to consider a religious vocation. “Why would I do that?” he asked. “I love my little brother.” Needless to say, he left that religious order shortly afterwards.

“Evangelization begins in the heart that has been evangelized.” To the extent we hold back our own commitment, to that extent we will hesitate to share the faith with others. During this confirmation season, I was impressed with the sophomores I teach who are in formation at St. Padre Pio parish. Remember that I teach in a public high school. One day early this month I looked up to see a number of them wearing T-shirts proclaiming their commitment to Christ and their intention to be confirmed as Catholics. They know in an inchoate way that the news they hear is Good News. They have hearts beginning to know God’s mercy and love. They–and we–cannot help but to proclaim in any way we can “the great difference that Jesus Christ has made in our lives.” [4] The Archbishop’s pastoral letter is addressed to all of us, but especially to you laity. For most unevangelized San Antonians, it is only through you “that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ.” [5]

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