Sunday, April 19, 2015

Focus on Faith

Baseball season is in full swing, and here’s a dangerous question.   How many are Rays fans? Yankees fans?  Mets fans?  Do you have faith in your team? 

Faith demands courage. 
Rembrandt's Supper at Emmaus

Every one of us as a disciple of Jesus is called to courageously stand up for what is right and true and good. For we believe that love rather than hate, right rather than wrong, truth rather than falsehood, forgiveness rather than vengeance, are virtues worth standing up for.

God gifts us with the ability to be faithful and courageous.  Let us continually refocus our lives upon God, so that God’s life can shine through our activities.

And Jesus Christ is our advocate, our mediator, the One through whom God gifts us with his eternal life.  

In the Gospel according to Luke, two disciples tell the other disciples about their extraordinary experience, how in the “breaking of the bread” at Emmaus they recognized with their “eyes of faith” the new, transformed reality of Jesus Christ.  And as they recount this experience, Jesus suddenly appears in their midst, and eats with them. Yes, God transformed the earthly Jesus into a new indescribable, transcendent reality; and so too will God do to us. 

And then the disciples, gifted with God’s grace, proclaim with faith and courage, the good news: Jesus Christ is alive, and because He lives, you and I live.  

To be a disciple of Jesus is to be fundamentally a man or woman of faith, someone who trusts completely in an All-Good God, someone who tries to do what God wants even though we can’t always seem to figure out what that is.   But it’s the desire that’s important.   
 
Our faith is a gift, but, like a flower, it must be fed and cared for. Let me highlight four simple practices. 
1. SLOW DOWN
Take at least 10 or 15 minutes a day to tune into the presence of God as we go about our daily routine. People find all sorts of ways: a daily walk or run, a stop at a chapel, a quiet moment.  And on the weekend gather as often as you can with your faith community to celebrate the Eucharist.
  2. STUDY WISDOM
All of us should be lifelong learners. Study the bible and the teachings of the Church with a resource such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.   There are many other resources on the Web e.g. americancatholic.org  
3. SERVE OTHERS
The Gospels are filled with examples of Jesus serving others. And remember: service begins in your own home.  
4. SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH OTHERS 
Pope Francis challenges us to be missionary disciples reflecting with others on the work we do. How can we better reflect values or virtues such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, friendship, compassion, faith in God, and a respect for colleagues?

Yes, the four Ss are four ways to keep the “flame” of faith alive.  

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