Jesus echoes the same sentiment I hear from many people in the church world today and one I have. How do we get more people involved in the life of the parish? Where are many of our young families and families with teens? Books are being written about the new evangelization and “how to’s”. There is no book that will have the answers and no program will turn the tide.
Jesus tells us what will turn the tide: a living relationship with Him and not being afraid to publicly let people know who we are, even when it means giving up our comfortable Christianity. We need to be on fire with the same Holy Spirit that He sent into the world on the Day of Pentecost and continues to send the Spirit today. It is no mistake the Spirit is depicted by fire.
What we need to do from a practical perspective is this:
• A radical commitment to Jesus and to the Gospel, not just once, but every moment of every day. Will this be easy? Jesus reminds us that a radical commitment will set us apart and even our families will not understand. This radical commitment can only be sustained by a life of prayer and the celebration of the Sacraments. This is a non-negotiable.
• A willingness to change. The Saints teach us that we need to change to have this radical commitment. St Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa, St Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Kateri Tekawitha
• Finding ways to be put our faith into action. I don’t want anyone to think we are not doing anything. We are and we do it well! Our next step is to expand that and draw more people to Christ. What can we do as a community to go outside our doors and do for others? I have a few ideas; and so do you. Let’s make something happen!
• Finally, by using all the things we have at our hands to witness. If your call is to stand and preach on the street, go for it. For most of us, it will be the witness of our actions. We can use social media: send tweet or use Instagram, Facebook, whatever else is out there. On a Sunday morning message someone and: tell them that God loves them, invite them to Mass. During the week, send a short verse of Sacred Scripture, send a snippet of something you read about faith or Jesus, etc. We see how social media can be divisive, violent and negative. Let us set the world on fire with peace and the message of Christianity using the same tools.
My brothers and sisters, as a community let us pray.
Come Holy Spirit and ignite our hearts with fire of the seven-fold gifts. Recreate our hearts and your Church. Give us the grace to radically commit ourselves to the mission to help others know and love Jesus. Help us to do the same. Send us forth from this Holy Eucharist and set the world on fire with your Divine love. Amen