Sunday, April 30, 2017

Believe in the One He Sent

They presented false witnesses who testified, "This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law. For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us." All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:13-15

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." So, they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." John 6:27-29

From the Prologue:
Listen carefully, my child, to my instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from one who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice. The labor of obedience will bring you back to God from whom you had drifted through the sloth of disobedience. This message of mine is for you, then, if you are ready to give up your own will, once and for all, and armed with the strong and noble weapons of obedience to do battle for Jesus, the Christ. (The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages by Joan Chittister, OSB)

To the age-old debate on Faith and Action, Jesus seems to settle the score once and for all time. When asked to explain what we can do to accomplish the works of God, Jesus sums it up in simple terms of faith: "This is the work of God: that you believe in the one he sent."

Settled? Maybe for some but not in my mind. Stephen was a believer. If faith alone was the requirement, how did Stephen get in trouble with the powers that be? IMHO, once Stephen became a believer, he could not remain quiet. His preaching is what landed him in the coveted space on trial before the Sanhedrin accused of overthrowing Mosaic law and the teachings of the prophets by elevating Jesus to a higher status. (In Stephen, we see the differences between Judaism and Christianity begin to appear but that is another reflection for another Tripod).

We see that Faith is the cornerstone. However, if we are to build the Kingdom, then that faith must lead to doing something. Maybe that is preaching. Teaching. Doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. But faith requires us to go beyond sitting in a pew fiddling with our rosary beads.

To paraphrase the words of Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB: “Spirituality is not about religiosity. It is about caring for the people you live with and loving the people you don't and loving God more than yourself. Spirituality depends on listening for the voice of God everywhere in life, especially in one another and here.” 

Once we hear the voice of God, we have to carry out the tasks assigned to us with an open and caring heart.

Such a spirituality is aligned with the three legs of our Cursillo tripod. These legs commit us to the “happiness of human community and immerse us in Christ and surrender us to God, minute by minute, person by person, day after day after day.” What is your homework assigned by the Word of God today? 

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