Readings for Thursday June 23, 2011
First Reading: Genesis 16:1-12,15-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 106
Gospel: Matthew 7:21-29
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.' (Matthew 7:21-23)
As Christians, we are often at odds with many non-believers in the world. Often, we are fighting against the injustices and the oppression from those who would like to see the downfall of the Church. It can be very challenging to be constantly defending the faith and our way of living. This challenge is of course not the only one we face, for our greatest opponents are not just on the outside, but we sadly must deal with internal foes as well. There have always been those Christians who are devout and faithful, and then there is also the phenomenon of those who say they believe but really have no sort of relationship with God. We typically call these people who are just stagnant in their faith "Sunday Catholics" or "Cultural Christians." It is kind of sad that we even have such names for these types of people, but it is a reality that we face.
Jesus warns us today of being just "Sunday Catholics" or "Cultural Christians", we really must be active in our faith. We cannot just go around saying that we believe in God, we must go out and show it. We are not called to be people who talk a good game, but we must be willing to walk our walk as well. If you are one of the people who has lost touch with your faith , then it is time to be reactivated, pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the fire and the zeal to get back in touch with God, to begin knowing and serving Him with everything you have. If you are among the faithful who are trying to get to heaven, then it is up to you to reach out to those who just show up to mass on Sunday. Perhaps invite them to a bible study, mens/womens group, church social, etc. I know that it is not enough for us to just evangelize the people outside of the Church, we must also do a good job of evangelizing inside of the Church as well. I know that this is something that I do not always do, but after reflecting on today's word, I realize that this is every bit our responsibility as well. For we are all the body of Christ, and when one part is weak or hurting, then we are all hurting.
I remember in a talk by Father John Corapi, he said "One day you and I will either be in heaven, or in hell ... period." It is as simple as that, we all have a choice to make every day; serve God and work towards heaven, or serve yourself and work towards hell. Jesus makes it very clear today that those who serve themselves and do not know Him will not be allowed into the kingdom.
May we all strive to do God's will in our lives and to help all those He puts in our path.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to serve you with the strength and courage which we need. Lord, help us to be lights in this dark world, and help us to reach out and help all of our fellow brothers and sisters come to know and serve you better. Lord, we pray for all those who are stagnant in their faith and for all those who have fallen away. We pray for their fire to return by your Holy Spirit. We pray for our priests and for them to have the strength and zeal that they need in their ministries, help them to be faithful to their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.