By Brian Moore
IN Luke 8:16-18, Jesus tells us, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
Recently I read a story called “Why are Catholic’s afraid to talk about Jesus”.
The story is told of a young woman who after completing an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program was received into the Catholic Church at Easter.
After being received into the Church she felt she was missing something, and in her desire to get to know Jesus more, she approached some Catholic friends one-on-one, seeking their assistance to talk with her about their relationship with Jesus so that she also could have a joyful relationship with Him.
To her surprise she found that some of her new Catholic friends felt uneasy about sharing their faith verbally, or talking about Christ to others.
Perhaps many Christians today don’t even know or believe that a personal friendship with Jesus is possible.
I am sure many of us have had similar experiences and challenges like sharing our faith at the risk of being faced with rejection.
It appears that this young woman had come face to face with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture so common in many Catholics: “Don’t ask anyone about their faith life, interior life, don’t share any joyful experience of Christ, and certainly don’t share your own faith experience with anyone.”
We’re Catholics; we don’t do that.
Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom.
In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the Gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.
Our Lord’s words are not about coercing people to have a better relationship Him, but about doing good in a visible way and to share verbally the joy of a relationship with Him, so that others who listen and see your good works, may glorify our Father in heaven.
The world needs to know (and hear from us) that we are companions of Jesus Christ (and not merely “nice” people helping out at the local charity shop).
I also read recently, “to guard against things that will disconnect you from God our power source … Sin will certainly do that and so will weariness. We can’t remain connected to God if we are weighed down by busyness. We can spend so much time doing things for God that we neglect our relationship with Him”.
I admit that I have been guilty of doing just that on a number of occasions during my life.
There is no doubt in my mind that God uses His Word, people and circumstances to mould us into the likeness of Christ.
God’s Word provides the truth we need to know – God’s people provide the support we need to grow so we all can have a joyful relationship with Him.
During our lives we face many challenges; we work and strive to create a manageable, trouble-free life trying to maintain an illusion of control.
Then all of a sudden, out of the blue the Spirit of God moves and shakes everything up, and asks us to step out in faith with Him and face many challenges, opportunities, crises and fear. Why ? …
For one reason only – to increase our dependence on Him.
The Gospel says some will plant seeds, others will do the harvesting.
There is no need for us to see the success of our work.
Just love the Lord and love every individual who comes your way.
Be yourself and let them see God in you, as you see God in them.
The greatest message that we as Christians can deliver in this troubled world today is the message of a Christ-like character.
In other words try to live as Jesus lived.
No message on earth is more needed at this moment or more powerful.
If we really want to make an impact on our family – our Church, our society, our neighbourhood, or our workplace – that’s the way to do it.
As we start 2015 let us all as Christians resolve to have a much deeper loving relationship with Jesus and give God the opportunity to see each one of us and for us to see him.
The blessings we reap will be abundant.
Let us pray, asking Jesus to guide us by the light of His saving truth – to fill our hearts and mind with light and truth that will free us from the blindness of sin so that we may see His ways clearly and understand His will for us to radiate His light and truth to others in word and deed.
Brian Moore is the former president of St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland.