Scripture Readings: Acts 12:1-11 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Matthew 16:13-19
Today, on this Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul we recognize two saints who failed deeply in their lives. Two saints who came to recognize all that the Jesus was to the world of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Two saints who came to know, first hand, that it was the grace of God that enabled them to become the leaders they were, the witness to God’s mercy and forgiveness and love.
The Saints we honor today, Peter and Paul, came to know that they had to live Jesus through their day to day lives.
And so it is with us, at our Baptisms we promise to “live” Jesus.
How do, and how will, our words, our actions, our attitudes make Jesus present in our world of today and tomorrow.
There was an article in the paper this Saturday that shared that the holy month of Ramadan has begun (this Saturday) for Muslims across the world. They noted that during this, Muslims are to fast and pray, which requires forgoing FOOD and LIQUIDS from dawn to dusk each day. But the article also noted that each person has to watch their moral behavior. They cannot swear, they cannot speak bad about anyone, and they cannot even think badly about anyone.
There’s a witness to faith if I ever heard one.
Friday night I was reading a document from the Bishops of the United States entitled: Disciples Called To Witness. (That’s us folks!)
In the first page the Bishop’s share:
Christ commands us to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. We are to proclaim the Good News to all people, everywhere and at all times.
The Bishop’s continue:
How often do we fail to realize that we are called to Christ’s witness to the world? Do we realize that our Baptism, Confirmation and reception of the Eucharist bestow on us the GRACE we need to be disciples? Are we inviting those around us to experience Christ’s love and mercy through the Church? How often do we reach out to our missing brothers and sisters by inviting them to Mass or by asking why they no longer feel welcomed at the Lord’s Table?
Finally, the Bishop’s share that:
The New Evangelization calls all Catholics first to be evangelized and then in turn to evangelize.
And how do we come to know Jesus, how do we come to know what Jesus asks of us today and tomorrow as disciples called to witness to Christ.
The answer is we all need to grow closer to Christ. We need to spend some time with our friend Jesus in prayer and reflection.
This past week, Bishop Scharfenberger shared this same thought with the Saratoga Deanery when he shared we need to spend some time in prayer each day if we are to “bring Jesus to our world of today.” The Bishop suggested an hour. He then said maybe 30 minutes. Even Matt Kelly of the “Rediscover Catholicism” book that most, if not all of you have, shared – we need to find at least 10 to 15 minutes a day to spend some time with our friend: Jesus.
The Church, that’s us, individually and collectively is real – is authentic when the church looks and acts like Jesus.
May this prayer that we call the Mass (The Scriptures; the Eucharist) continue to transform us weekly into authentic Catholics and an authentic Church – always centered in Jesus…A Church that looks and acts like Jesus.