Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Will Not Leave You Orphans

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.  Acts 8:14-17

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.  For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.  1 Peter 3:17-18

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.  John 14:18

Our piety results from Christ having sent the Spirit to his disciples.  Because we have the spirit dwelling within us, we have Christ and the Father.  He truly has not left us orphans. He comes to us first and forever by our baptism.  Our maturing in the life of Christ takes place with the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Christ does not force himself on us.  For most of us, Christ is the gift of our baptisms.  Because of the faith of our parents most of us have been given Christ.  It is sad to know family and friends who have not passed on the gift of Christ to their children.  We do not do a child a favor by making him wait for the gift that makes us part of the family of God.  It might well be true that those who had to make the choice for themselves appreciate the gift of their faith more than those of us who were given Christ without any work of our own.  The family of God has its continuity in the Christ of the Sacraments of the Church where the humanness of Christ lives on in us by our sharing in his life through the Sacraments.

We study the Scriptures that we might be better able to see Christ in our world.  Our faith opens us up to what we see in the Scriptures.  The world does not see Christ because it is shallow in its search.  We go below the surface of appearances by our study to see the why of the goodness of those who know Christ.  Christ lives in the love of our friends and the good people of our world.  We search out the needs of the least of our people because we realize that Christ comes to every genuine need and it is Christ we serve when we reach beyond our comfort zones to take care of the least of our world.  We hear Christ saying we are doing for him when we live out the Corporal and the Spiritual works of Mercy.

It is by our actions that we show the love of Christ.  We live the commandments because that is how we show our love of Christ.  Our interpersonal relationships are the truth of loving our neighbor as ourselves when we do the best we can for each other.  Christ lives in us by our goodness to and for one another.  It is better to put ourselves out in the extra we do and to suffer for doing good.  Those who defame the good work we do, will be put to shame in the last judgment when all the records of our good will be seen for what Christ accepts in our good intentions rather than in our accomplishments that might need some facing up in Christ.  Christ suffered for our sins so that we, when accepting the embrace of the Christ of the cross, might know ourselves as saved in the love of Christ.  Because we love Christ, we will keep his word and the Father will love us and we will come to God.  Because we love Christ, he will reveal himself to us and will bring us to the Father. 

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