by Fr. James Tarantino
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He left clear instructions to His followers. He said, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." So, "they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs."
The Word of God cannot be any clearer as to what it is that all believers should be doing. God is not asking us to do His work without help. We are told in the Acts of the Apostles "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Therefore, the promise of Jesus is to "equip" us "for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ..." It is incumbent upon all those who refer to themselves as followers of Christ to take seriously the call that is ours. St. Paul said to the Ephesians, "I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of spirit through the bond of peace..."
My friends, to live such a life as described above will require definite forethought and will require definite decision- making. St. Paul, states that everything will fall under the feet of Jesus. Those who listen to the Word of God and put that Word into practice will be the ones who will reap the true reward of eternal life that Jesus offers to His followers. Those who refuse to listen and follow in the way of God will also reap the true reward of their decisions and actions.
I once again invite you to pray with me for the grace to HEAR God's Word and to live that Word in your everyday life. Placing yourself at the disposal of God's Will can take a sizable amount of trust on your part. However, such a decision is also the result of God's grace. May the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians inspire you to desire the grace of God to walk more fully in His Way.
"May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come."
Fr. Tarantino is currently on Sabbatical and will return as Pastor of St. Hilary Parish on January 1, 2010.