“We talk of the second coming, half the world has never heard of the first.” ~ Oswald J. Smith
“The Lord has given me a well-trained tongue,” proclaims the Prophet Isaiah in the very opening words of today’s 1st Reading (Isaiah 50:4-9), “...that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.” This proclamation serves as a precursor to Isaiah’s larger mission and as the passage unfolds, he sheds some light on the zeal he will display in completing it. But these words serve too as an invitation, a call to evangelize, a task that noted Christian Missionary Hudson Taylor pointed out is “not an option to be considered,” for those who have been entrusted with the truth, but instead “a command to be obeyed.” “God is not looking for men of great faith,” Taylor goes on to explain. “He is looking for common men to trust His great faithfulness.”
Those who seek to grow in the spiritual gifts of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, tuning out the toxic secular sewage that is pumped into our airwaves and general discourse on a non-stop basis, are those who have accepted the challenge which Taylor speaks of. These are the courageous and contrarian souls who ardently chase the truth, pursuing the path that culminates in one’s arrival at the narrow gate that leads to Heavenly Paradise. The trials and tribulations that happen along the way are merely trivia, one day to be forgotten against the backdrop of eternity.
For the Catholic who’s ensconced in the Scriptural and Sacramental Life, the Holy Spirit dwells in them like heat dwells in hot water. Despite what you may hear on the cable news networks, the late night talk shows, around the water cooler or amidst the never-ending chatter that spills forth from secular blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels, the Catholic Church church is not hung up on sin. If anything, it’s hung up on getting rid of sin. Jesus is the one, the only one, who takes away the sins of the world. By going to the cross he showed us how bent he was on accomplishing that, not only conquering sin but death and hell, the eventual outcomes of sin. Scripture is bursting at the seams with redemption stories, examples of God’s mercy, his willingness to forgive 70 x 7 and his instruction to us to do the same. Keep your open ears attuned to these Scripture Texts. To take no interest in them or even to ignore the salvific message of the Bible and instead continue on the road to ruination would be akin to getting tomorrow’s newspaper today, reading in the sports section that the Baltimore Ravens beat the Seattle Seahawks 38-10 and wagering on the Seahawks anyway.
My message today goes out in a special way to the Elect, this who have just finished the very rigorous Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, better known as RCIA, those who are poised to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. Go forth with great courage and confidence, for over the last eight months you have put in the work to truly learn the faith. As such, you immediately become the church’s “divine green berets,” possessing a unique blend of passion, perspective, knowledge and acuity that few possess. We have a lot to learn from you, so help us to learn the faith. Take that responsibility seriously. C.S. Lewis was fond of pointing out that “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.” Oh, and read the works of C.S. Lewis. All of them. And G.K. Chesterton. And Charles Spurgeon. Much like the truth as taught to us by Jesus, made manifest in his life aNJD subsequently recorded in the Gospels, these men possessed a wisdom that was sublime... timeless... unchanging... everlasting.
Beware of bad Catholics. Don’t become one. Attend Mass as often as you can, every day if possible https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Do-THIS-In-Memory-of-Me. Go all-in on the Church’s teachings; anything less is self-serving, weak and dishonest, a scandal plain and a betrayal to Jesus. With regard to my use of the word betrayal, chosen for a reason, don’t follow in the footsteps of this guy https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Dont-Take-the-Morsel. When you stumble and fall ~ not if ~ partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and make a promise to Jesus that you will do better. Keep that promise.
The world is weary right now. It is in need of a word that will rouse them to borrow the words of Isaiah. The message that’s being sold, although profitable to an elite and craven few, is resulting in spiritual and emotional bankruptcy. The “values” that are deemed virtuous aren’t. The overwhelming increase in depression, suicides, and acts of mass violence should make that abundantly clear. There’s a simple reason for this unprecedented despair: We’ve written God out of the script. Christians the world over must not only write God back in, we need to insure that he is re-established as the leading man.
I leave you with the words of the great English Particular Baptist Preacher Charles Spurgeon, who once said “To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in the world. And with every soul you bring to Jesus Christ, you seem to get a new heaven here upon earth.”
For more on the topic of evangelization in this most difficult and problematic age, please revisit