Evangelizing Moments

Evangelizing Moments    by Joe Bland

Thirty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Readings:

2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14

Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15

2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 3:5 

Luke 20: 27-38

What?: “But I in justice shall behold your face; on waking I shall be content in your presence.” (Psalm 17:15 emphasis mine) Is there a resurrection to life (2 Maccabees 7:14) or a waking before we die?

So What?: I remember recently after a surgery that I had my wife made a comment that as I came out of the anesthesia that I was conscious but I was not “fully” awake. I didn’t know what was going on around me. How many of us go through life this way – conscious but not fully awake? What I mean is we go to work, we provide for our families; we do what we are supposed to do. We go to church every Sunday, sit in the same pews, receive our Lord sacramentally but we are not fully awake, nothing changes in our lives. Some studies say that up to 85% of our people sitting in the pews have never had an encounter with the risen Jesus; they do not have an ongoing daily relationship with him. They have not been evangelized.  That means they are conscious but not fully awake. What does it mean to be awake in Christ? What does it mean to be among the living? There is a saying in the Alcoholics Anonymous crowd; “A person can be dry but not sober.”

Now What?: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14) To be fully awake and alive in Christ means to become self-aware. It means with the help of Christ to walk that Good Friday in my life, to go into the death of Holy Saturday knowing that Christ will wake me on Easter Sunday. Becoming self-aware means to walk this Paschal Mystery in our life, it means letting go and surrendering everything to Jesus. It means that I will feel the Father’s love and presence (Psalm 17:15) and be immersed in His Grace. So sobriety is different than being dry in the sense that sobriety brings wisdom achieved as one has entered the death of the old self and has become fully alive in Christ. This person may have received a valid sacramental baptism but now they are fully awake and living out that baptism. Now they are ready to “drop their nets”. This person is no longer dead because God is the God of the living not of the dead (Luke 20:28) It has been said that St. Paul Miki and his companions when they were to be crucified ran to their crosses singing and continued to sing till their death. This is a testimony, a witness to a resurrection before death. As our Creed states we do believe in the resurrection of the dead but I believe that when we surrender our life to Christ and we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us that a resurrection starts at that moment. We become self-aware and this self-awareness leads to a God-awareness that permeates every part of our lives. This is the God who restores life not the God who takes it away. (Luke 4:18 & John 10:10) “We are a Resurrection people and Alleluia is our song!” – St. John Paul II

Have a Wonderful Sunday!