Does this Shock you? Wk 4 Faith In Motion
This is the fourth and final week of our message series we call Does this Shock you?
The first week of our series Jesus asked us point blank whether or not we are shocked by his revelation that Holy Communion is his Body and Blood and we are to consume it if we are to have eternal life with him. Holy Communion is communion with him. That’s what makes it holy.
Then two weeks ago we discussed how loving Jesus creates this interior disposition within us to want to serve and that there are all sorts of opportunities to serve right here at Saint Mary. There are all sorts of opportunities for you to be a true minister to others. As a member of our parish you are called to minister to others. That is a big part of what you should be doing. Does that shock you?
Last week we talked about listening to God in prayer. Some people are shocked that God speaks to them in prayer. God does speak to you. That’s part of prayer.
Remember you can find all of our homilies online on our website saintmary.life.
For this last week in our series, let’s take a look at today’s gospel. Peter confesses the very shocking idea that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This may not be shocking to us today, but AT THAT TIME, this would have been earth shattering news.
Now here is something that might shock you right out of your pew! This type of news demands that we share it. We are required as Christians to share the news of Jesus Christ. That is a huge part of what it means to be a Christian. You are called, and sent, to tell others who Jesus is. This is how you put your faith IN-MOTION.
We heard in the Gospel today that if we wish to follow Jesus we have to deny ourselves. That means we are to deny our discomfort, get over our discomfort, pick up the cross of sharing the Lord with others and find ways to share him. That is a cross that makes us uneasy because it is challenging. This is a beautiful way to give your life to the gospel, to give your life to the Lord. Many of us find it disturbing, even shocking, that we can’t just come to church and sit in our pew and be comfortable. This building, this community, does not exist just to sit here.
The true Christian life demands that one is ever ready to sacrifice one’s own convenience and pleasure for the sake of telling others about Jesus.
Denying yourself and picking up your cross may not seem very life-giving to you, but that is exactly what it is. The cross is also called the tree of life. The cross gives life to you, and to others, as you share with them who Jesus is.
Yes, inviting a person to talk about Jesus can be intimidating, but this will turn to joy after having invited people a few times to talk about Christ. Remember too, how they respond to your invitation is not all on you because it is God who draws a person to himself.
Jesus said: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them (John 6:44). Pray the Lord may make a person available for you to talk with. Pray that the Lord will open their heart and mind that they may be prepared to receive your invitation. Remember it is about the invitation. Not whether or not they accept your invitation. Invite. Let God do the rest.
If the person accepts or rejects Jesus, it is in God’s hands, not yours. However, while the person may not accept your invitation about Jesus, at the time you spoke with them, you have still planted a seed.
Sharing Jesus is what we call evangelization. Let me tell you what evangelization is not. IT IS NOT:
• Having an acute knowledge of theology
To be someone who can share faith with others, all you need to be is ordinary.
It says in the bible that as some people were observing the confidence of the apostles, Peter and John, they understood these men were uneducated and untrained men. – Acts 4:13
What if sharing your faith with someone were as easy as sharing your life with someone? Here is a shocker: Sharing your faith with someone IS AS EASY as sharing your life with someone. Here is how.
Sharing your joys or your struggles to have a better relationship with your spouse or significant other becomes a moment that you can share how Jesus helps you to be a better wife, husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend.
Your passions to be a designer, architect, or other sort of engineer becomes a talking point to share how God has given you this passion and how you want to use your creativity to inspire others about the Creator.
How you serve as a firefighter, law enforcement agent, or health care practitioner is a beautiful setting to explain how you serve both others and God, day in and day out.
The most important thing for military men and women is to walk with God. They are a blessing to all those who do good and a terror to the evildoers. That responsibility is rooted in a relationship with God in which they know him and his ways. As a member of the armed forces, you can help others to know God, and his Son, when they are lost.
Are you a father? Your love of being a father is like the love of God who is a Father, so when you talk about your kids, you can talk about your passionate heart God gave you for your kids.
What we are talking about is simply having conversations. You invest into relationships with others and have these sorts of conversations with them. Through sharing your life, and how the Lord is connected to your life, you share the Lord.
Other than sharing our faith because Jesus tells us to, why should we want to do it. Here are four reasons that might change how you think about evangelization.
1) We share the gospel to spread God’s fame. Why do we exist? We exist to bring glory to God. What is glory? Something like fame.
We make God famous when we tell others about who he is and the good things he has done. Have you shared your story of what God has done in your life?
2) We share the gospel to give hope to others. St. Paul reminds people that once they were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Their situation was the worst it could possibly be: They were “dead in their transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
But God, full of love and compassion, reached out and brought them new life in Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-5). When we share the gospel, we offer the hope that can only be found in Christ. Which of your family members, friends or neighbors have yet to experience the hope God offers?
3) We share the gospel because we are God’s spokespeople. Saint Paul says: We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) What would happen if you began your day thinking, “I am God’s ambassador”? God has entrusted you with the privilege of being his ambassadors, or spokespeople.
4) We share the gospel to increase everyone’s joy. One of the authors of the bible wrote: We say all of this about Jesus to make our joy complete (1 John 1:4). Talking about Jesus brought him joy because he knew others would share in the joy of knowing Jesus. If we are enjoying our relationship with Christ, we can’t help but want others to be part of the community that knows and experiences God’s love and grace. Whom do you want to experience this joy?
A faith that is not in-motion is not an active faith. It may very well be a dead faith. Is your faith a faith in-motion? You can share Jesus in the everydayness of your life conversations, and you can also share Jesus in specific ways by ministering here in the parish.
All the ministry areas we mentioned in the parish two weeks are still open. All of these ministries provide opportunities for you to share Jesus with others and to teach them how to do that. The ministries are listed on the cards in your pew. (show card) You can also find the ministries listed on our website at saintmary.life Just go there and look for the “Ministry Sign up” image.
This is what we want you to know. Because we know who Jesus is, we are required to share who he is with others and to bring others to him. Do you find that shocking? Does it make you uncomfortable? If so, then you are a bit shocked.
This is what we want you to do? We are asking you to do one of two things this week. 1) Pray that the Lord may make a person available to you to talk about him, and pray that the Lord will open their heart and mind so that they may be prepared to receive your invitation. Remember it is about the invitation.
2) There are many opportunities here at Saint Mary to share your faith by ministering to others. You can share Jesus by serving in a ministry here. You can fill out a card today and place it in the collection basket or, complete one online at saintmary.life