Pope Francis talked about taking action. He said Christian can't simply be uttered, but above it all they should be put into practice. Not doing so, said the Pope, only cause pain and division in the Church. (1:23).
"Look at all the hypocrites who go to church..."
The average pastoral care worker, the parish priest,or the pastoral counselor will surely have heard this frequent excuse for not going to church: “Look at all the hypocrites who go to church all the time and still exploit their neighbor and abuse the weak and the powerless.” It is said that the same tongue we use on Sunday to praise God is used on Monday to lie and to cheat. Lack of sincerity, or inconsistency in our religious commitments, becomes a scandal to those who observe us.
We often dismiss such remarks with the retort that those who do not go to church are just as inconsistent as churchgoers when it comes to professing values on the one hand and practicing those same values on the other hand. Of course, such ad hominem arguments have little impact on anyone. It is far better to acknowledge the truth of the accusations and then try to do better.
In the fellowship of those recovering from addictions,we often hear the slogan: “Walk the walk; don’t just talk the talk!” It is by our deeds that we demonstrate the success of our recovery and not just by our words.
The followers of Jesus Christ are bound by the commitment they have made to model their behavior on him, to follow his example. Truth and sincerity were the hallmarks of his life and his teaching. Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”He did not just say, “Do what I tell you to do.”His faithfulness to the will of the Father led him all the way to Calvary. Paul says that it was because he was obedient to God that God raised him up to new life on Easter Sunday.
There was a time when people might have become Christians because there might have been some worldly gain in being a Christian. The Church community may have been able to grant some privileges or some advantages to those who belonged to the fellowship. Not so today. In business, in politics, in higher education, in entertainment, in the arts, Christians often are not well received. There may be a distinct disadvantage in professing the Christian way of living. To live like a Christian requires courage. One does not say that one IS a Christian for any other reason than for the sake of Jesus Christ himself.
We say we belong to Christ; let us live the Gospel.ECHOING GOD'S WORD – © 2017 Rev. Clement D. Thimbodeau (1932-2017); Used with permission.
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