Our readings this week tell us that faith must be lived out in everyday life. Its no use saying the creed if we go out and live the opposite. We pray for a living active faith and confess any ways we may have failed to live out our Christian calling..
What’s the most important part of the mass. Of course the communion. But after that the dismissal: “Go…to love and serve the Lord”. How is that so important? The point is that the mass is of no use if we don’t live it in our daily lives. God says to us at mass, go and live the grace and love you’ve celebrated.
Christ says the same in today’s Gospel: “if you love me keep my commandments”. You know the story in the Bible of the sons. When the father says to one “go into my vineyard”, the son says “OK”, but he doesn’t go. The father says to the other son, “go into my vineyard” and he answers, “I wont”. But he goes because he loves his father. He knows the grapes are ripe and need to be picked and it will hurt his father if they are allowed to rot. So the second son shows his love not by words but by action.
Its the same with us. Its useless professing faith if we don’t live it. Only by following Christ and his church faithfully, coming to mass every Sunday, do we prove our love. Of course there’s human weakness: we want to obey God but err through weakness. God understands this. That’s why He sent us the Holy Spirit to help and strengthen us and the church in our every weakness. When we fail to obey the father’s commands his healing forgiveness is there for us. Christ died and rose so that, as the Gospel says: “in his name repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be preached to all nations”. We all break God’s commands at times. But through his grace and forgiveness we pick ourselves up constantly. We do our best and leave the rest to God’s mercy.
For Christian Holiness is not in being perfect, none of us will be that, but in the effort to be as good as we can. To persist in trying to obey God despite our faults is enough. For he doesn’t command us because he’s a policeman but because he loves us and wants what’s good for us. The 10 commands were given to the Jews as part of their liberation from slavery in Egypt. Obeying Christ is also our road to peace, happiness and freedom. For true freedom is not in license but in doing what’s right. Licenses leads to slavery to sin, habits take us over and can lead to death in body and soul. It harms us and undermines society.
In obeying God’s commands we’re loving ourselves, society and the world. We build Christ’s kingdom of love, peace, justice and truth to redeem a fallen world from what makes it unhappy. We live godly lives because its our dignity and glory. Keeping god’s law we achieve happiness both for here and for the life to come. And we help bring about what Christ died and rose for; to deliver the world from its greatest enemy, evil. Christ gives us the freedom of God’s children for this world and the next.
If you love me keep my commands, this may be unfashionable in a liberal age but its the way of life. Lets remember that as we’re dismissed at mass. Lets go out to love and serve the Lord in the true and lasting freedom of the glorious children of God. For this world’s cold values of which Satan is lord fade to ashes at last and leave us empty before eternity, but Christ is lord of goodness, happiness, peace, freedom and glory both for our fuller life in this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people living the faith we hold, lets profess that same faith now.
Prayers of the Faithful
As the people of God gathered here lets pray for our Holy Father and the other leaders of the churches that they may lead us and all people in the freeing way, truth and life that is Christ.
For our leaders in society that they may place no obstacles in the way of the church in its fulfilling of its mission to bring all people to the fullness of faith and life.
For ourselves that in our homes and work places we may not only profess but all live the commands of God and his Christ and so help bring all around us to freedom, happiness and salvation…
For our young people that they may not be deluded by the values of the world of which Satan is lord, but come to see the value of professing and living the faith as their true fullness of life, glory and liberation both for this world and forever and ever…
For the aged, the sick, the lonely and the poor in body or soul, that the message of Christ that they carry from this table may lead them to freedom, healing and oneness with God, and through our care for them may they know the love of God in their lives..
For our beloved dead that their work in this world done, they reap the rewards of their faithfulness to Christ in the home he has prepared for them in heaven…
And We ask all these prayers through the same Christ Our Lord who leads us forever out of the darkness into glorious light amen
The Story of Francis Xavier is one of the most inspiring in the history of the church. He went out from Europe to bring Christ’s message to the Asian people. He worked heroicly against every opposition in that work of faith, converting multitudes. But, sadly, worn out by his labors, he died on the verge of entering China to preach the Gospel there. He wore himself out not only preaching but actively spreading the Gospel of hope and freedom. We pray that we will have the courage to do the same in our age.. Hail Mary..