“Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!” (Ps 119:1ab)
During my religion class, I asked the students a very simple question: What must I do to get to Heaven? I heard all the answers one would expect: “Be nice.” “Be tolerant.” “Be respectful.” “Be happy!” “Treat the planet as if it were your mother.” None of them are close to the correct answer.
We know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is divided into three parts: What Catholics Believe; How Catholics Pray and How Catholics Live. In other words: Creed, Cult, and Conduct. The parts are in this order for good reasons. I cannot worship a God I do not know and I cannot live the proper life if I do not know what I should ask for and who I should pray to. The Catechism is not a complicated book. It appears to be a thick book, but it is not a dense book. Why do we need a Catechism? Because we are complicated and the Church helps us to untangle the complications of our sin. It is worth referring to on occasion.
The Acts of the Apostles were written for a reason: to give witness to the energy, enthusiasm, courage and heroic virtues of the Apostles. Life would not be easy for those who wished to follow the Lord. In fact, it would be dangerous. They lived on the run, in a hurry, because they knew their time was limited. Not limited due to age or health, but due to rocks, sticks and swords. These men and women, who did not have our Basilicas, Cathedrals, or established institutions, worked in the vineyard of the Lord by planting the seeds of faith that would eventually bear much fruit.
But we must never forget. Their actions are not their actions but the actions of the Lord. “The Christian knows that any good he does comes from Christ inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
What must I do to get to Heaven? Believe in the One and only savior, Jesus Christ, and allow him to live, breathe and work in and through you! When working with teenagers, who are so worried about peer perception, feeling good about themselves, I ask them a simple question: What is more important: Feeling good, looking good or being good? I am pleased to announce that all of them will say, “Being good.” They all have Him inside of them! It is just a matter of getting Him and letting Him live!
For this reason, the Lord told the crowd that was following him after the multiplication of the loaves, “I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” The Eucharist is essential for good living. It is the way, the truth and the life that keeps us good, holy and alive. Without it, it is impossible to have the Lord inside of me. “The glory of God is a man fully alive!” (St. Augustine)
What must I do? “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
The Gospel of the Lord!