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.