Strength of Faith

The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.

Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. Remember, we are focusing on our Strength of Faith. 

This week we consider the fact that strength of faith must be expressed in action.

Faith is not just an interior journey, nor as the worldly would have us think, a private matter. People who are or wish to be strong in their faith must cultivate both an interior life of faith and an expressive life of faith.

Last week we considered Ezekiel’s call to go and prophesy. Whether the message he spoke was accepted or rejected, the people would know a prophet had been among them. God’s word was proclaimed, and people knew where Ezekiel stood. Similarly, today where we read of Amos’ experience as a prophet. He is told to get out, to go away. Speak your word somewhere else, but not here. Amos would not budge, for he knew he was on God’s mission. God took Amos from his ordinary everyday life and transformed him to a person of expressive action by His word.

So, it must be for us. People strong in faith cannot just rest in the ordinary. We cannot shrink back or go away. We must, as an expression of our belief in Christ, transform every ordinary moment into an extraordinary one for God. We do that by our words (evangelism), the example we set, and the service we perform.

Like Amos, the word we speak, and work we do, draws people to God and into His Church. The fastest growing parishes are ones that in big and small ways disciple though word and action. People see it and respond. It takes all of us, who together, must express our strength of faith.

St. Paul tells the Ephesians: In him we were also chosen…so that we might exist for the praise of his glory. We cannot exist for praise of Jesus’ glory without action. We cannot exist for the praise of Jesus’ glory if we lean on excuses for inaction.

Jesus instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. In other words, the disciples were to spring into immediate action. Notice that the things they were to take they already had on them. They were not to wait, to go to the bank to get money, to go and buy another coat or a suitcase, or stop at the grocery. Action could not wait.

The urgency of the disciples’ action is the same urgency with which Jesus sends us out today. There are people who need healing. There are evils that need to be driven out. Repentance and the kingdom need to be proclaimed for the world does not know Jesus. In strength of faith let us step into action now. 

Something from
revelation.

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down

We see later, in today’s Gospel the next revelation of Jesus, but before that part, taken from Chapter 4 of Luke’s Gospel, we hear from the very first part of Luke’s first chapter.

This interesting placement of parts from two different Chapters helps us to call to mind what must happen in our lives if we are to be Jesus’ disciples, His followers.

Luke is an interesting example of discipleship lived. Luke wrote both a Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He was likely a gentile and a slave who was trained as a scientist and physician; disciples come from every background. Luke’s gospel shows special focus on evangelizing Gentiles; the message disciples are to bring. Luke loyally stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome. After everyone else deserts Paul, Luke remains; discipleship lived.

Luke’s Gospel speaks to the poor and speaks of social justice – work that is a mark of discipleship. He points to forgiveness and God’s mercy to sinners. Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God’s mercy; the proclamation and work of disciples in reconciling sinners.

Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his life as a disciple. He loved the poor and outcast, wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, was close to Mary, and saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone. I want to be like that! If we are in the Church, part of the Church, lovers and followers of Jesus – then we must all strive to be that kind of disciple.

Luke starts – I want to tell you all about Jesus. I scientifically analyzed all this so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings.

Jesus again enters the public space, another revelation, this time at the Synagogue in Nazareth. He reads from Isaiah and tells everyone that the prophesy is fulfilled in His listeners’ hearing. I am here. This is real.

We have the revelation of Jesus. Like Luke, let hearing result is action and, disciple.