Luke 18: 1-8 Passion and Zeal for You!
Today’s Gospel antiphon sums it all up: “The word of God is living and effective, discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Why? It is because the Word of God rings true to our hearts and minds. But it also challenges us.
I will never be satisfied with a lie or a feeling. It will never calm the restless heart or the inquisitive mind. A lie never satisfies and neither does a feeling. I should never go to Mass because it makes me feel good. I should go to Mass because it is true - it is the Lord’s command - it is Christ’s final words to his disciples, “Do this in memory of me.” That should make me feel good.
Never in the Old or New Testament do we read that the Lord did something because he felt like it or because it made him feel good. We should learn from Him. I do not go to Church because of the music. Rather, I go to Church because the Church preaches the Word and consumes Him too. You can’t get more intimate with God than that.
“When the Son of Man comes, will find faith on earth?” This question that the Lord asks is a reminder that we, Christians, are in a battle for our lives, our beliefs, and the Lord’s Way of life! Will he find faith on earth will depend on how well I know my faith, the faith of my childhood, the faith of my forefathers, the faith of my God! St. Paul writes, “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.” (2Tm 4:2)
It is not bad to be challenged about your belief in God, but it is horribly bad to lose your faith in God because you were challenged. Similarly, it is not bad to be challenged about why you are a Catholic, but it is a terrible loss to lose the true Church of Christ because you were unwilling to seel the truth and meet the challenge head on.
In the past few days I have been doing more and more apologetics than I care to. I am not very good at it because I get too passionate, too zealous about my God, my Church and my Pope! I have the tendency to win the argument but lose the soul! I am constantly reminded of the Lord’s words to his priests: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 18:18). I do not wish to lose a soul and yet my passion for the truth is very much connected with my love for the Lord and his bride. I will be the first to admit that I am not cut out for this type of evangelization. And yet, in the past few days I have been reminded of the need to defend my God and my bride.
I recently heard from a woman who converted to Islam because she did not understand how God could be one and three at the same time. I immediately reminded her that a family consists of at least three persons: father, mother and child. I asked her, “How is it possible that the three could be one?” The answer is obvious: by its very nature. We should not equate one God with one person. In fact, we know that God is love. He is more love by being three than by being alone. After all, for love to exist, you need to have a Lover (the Father), a beloved (the Son) and Love itself (the Holy Spirit). It was sad that she had never heard an explanation like that before. It is very sad that someone got to her first.
A UD student, majoring in Philosophy, was telling me, “Father, I’m losing my faith in God! What makes us think that the Catholic Church is the true church? Why should I believe in the Pope’s authority? After all, he’s just a man!” It was too late in the evening for me to even drive straight let alone think straight. But amazingly enough, we had just parked right outside of a Popeyes restaurant and I asked him to look at the sign. He looked surprised. I told him, “There’s your answer. Look at the sign.” “What sign”, he asked, “the Popeyes sign?” “No”, I told him, not Popeyes but “Pope-yes.” It was one of those Holy Spirit moments. He looked shocked. I told him, “you want your proof in God’s existence? Then stop standing on your head and start living your life according to God’s Way and not your way, and you will find the Way to peace of mind and heart, the Truth and a Life of happiness.”
Heavenly Father, give us the grace the desire to know you more through Scripture, to proclaim your Word with passion and zeal, and to consume your Word with love. We ask this in your Son’s name. Amen.