Let our Actions show our Love.
Dearly Beloved, The apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians exhorts us, “Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. (cf 1 Corinthians 16:13) and the Evangelist John in turn tells us not to love in just mere words or speech but let our actions show our love (cf. 1 John 3:18). These aforementioned two verses put together, sum up our parish 2018 Mission statement: “Let us stand firm in the faith, be courageous. Let our actions show our love.”
Much as the above mentioned statement seems quite laudable, we all know that it is not easy to live out such injunctions. We are human and by nature frail. The apostle Paul, a man who experienced the Risen Lord, would attest to this in his letter to the Romans; “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15). Many a times, we do that which our minds ordinarily tell us are wrong or fail to do that which the mind ordinarily tells us is right. Why? Weakness of the flesh – which can translate into fear, greed, unforgiveness. This is where our Mission Statement again comes to mind. Can we, guided by a firmness of faith survive difficult and trying times, trusting that God who has promised is faithful and would fulfill His beautiful promises in our life? Can we be courageous in standing up for and doing what is right even when the majority are taking contrary positions and we stand to be persecuted for being in the minority? Can we as children of a God who is Love, let our actions show our love for the God who first loved us as sinners and calls us to love our neighbours as He Himself has loved us?
The journey to answering these questions begins from the intellect. Our belief system and world view is influenced by that which we consider right or wrong and best for our interests. It is on this basis that we choose to act or not to act. It is on the basis of these that we make our choices, that the power of our human will comes to play. Hence we chose to say, “I will do this” and actually do such or “I will not do this” and indeed do not do such.
As Christians, our ordinary human intellect may not suffice. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles tells us; “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.… (1 Corinthians 1:23-25). So we need to ascend to the level of faith and rely on grace because even when we seek to do the good, our wills are weakened by fear, laziness and other inclinations to please the flesh. Hence Paul again says, “But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:23-25). Yes, Christ allowed Himself to be put to death on the cross so He could show us the great power of the Resurrection. We see the connection in the words of St. Paul again; “For He was indeed crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power. And though we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him to serve you.” (2Cor.13:4).
Dearly beloved, we have fasted these past forty days of Lent to make ourselves physically weak and hungry in order to see the need to pray for God’s strength. Because we tend to forget about God when we are strong and things are going well. These forty days of fast, abstinence and prayer were meant to help us overcome our self-reliance and learn to rely more and more on our Lord. These days past, from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday to Easter Sunday, we have moved from acknowledging that we are mortal and shall return to dust, to making sacrifices and sharing in the Passion of the Lord, and now coming (by virtue of our baptism) to share in His resurrection as candidates for eternity.
Our faith calls us to be like Him, but with our daily challenges ranging from work, business, the bad economy, family squabbles, health challenges, hurts from others around us and persecutions, we wonder if we can continue. But we are not alone. Meditating on the Stations of the Cross we see that even Christ had to struggle to continue. St. Paul, himself knew what it felt like to seem to fail as a result of human weakness. Hear his words: “But we have this treasure [of the Gospel] in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7); “[The Lord] said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) and “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
Beloved in Christ, the work of grace which transforms us and shapes us according to the pattern of Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus St Paul says that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Rom 8:26), and the goal of this transformation is that, having died with Christ, we might also rise with him. (cf. Romans 6:4-5)
Finally dearly beloved, let us be encouraged to persevere in doing good for we are told, “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who dwells within you.” (Romans 8:11). So Let us be consoled: Because He Lives…Let us stand firm in the faith, be courageous, let our actions show our love. …We can Face Tomorrow.
Do have a blessed Season
Categorised in: Pastor's Blog
This post was written by Emmanuel Ozoezi