Going out with faith

North Texas Catholic
(Apr 21, 2023) Faith-Inspiration

The first followers of Jesus had every reason to storm out into the world with the message of Jesus and the power of the cross. They had spent three years with Him, saw amazing things, heard amazing things, and had even done some amazing things.

They witnessed His suffering, death, and resurrection. Many of them had also witnessed His appearances after the resurrection and saw Him ascend to heaven. They had all this firsthand knowledge of Jesus and the admonition to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) And yet, they still were unsure of what it all meant and how they were to live it out.

I imagine many reading this have also had experiences of the living God. Moments that were either big and life-changing, or quiet, powerful, and meaningful. Maybe you were in a dark place and Jesus helped bring you into the light. Maybe you have been a lifelong Catholic and there have been moments at Mass or Adoration or confession when you really felt the touch of Jesus in your life.

However your encounters with Jesus came to be, maybe you too are like the disciples. You are sure of your belief in Jesus, but you are unsure of what it all means and how you are to live it out.

Jesus promised the first followers a “paraclete,” a “comforter”: the Holy Spirit. I’ve often wondered what they thought when they heard these words. Even for us 2,000 years later, the Spirit can be a bit of a mystery, but for them the concept must have been the source of much wonderment and conversation.

Then the day of Pentecost arrived, and the Holy Spirit came in a wild display of wind and flame. In that moment everything they had seen and heard crystalized and propelled them forward, never looking back. 

Immediately the Great Commission burst through the doors of the upper room and into the hearts and minds of those gathered by the commotion. Uncertainty became urgency and the race to the ends of the earth with the Gospel had begun. 

Centuries and centuries have flown by and now we are here — we are the current bearers of the Great Commission. We are called by our baptism and sealed in our confirmation to share the power, mercy, love, and good news about Jesus.

As a follower of Jesus, we have two responsibilities: to grow in our faith and to show our faith. Many of us are better at one than the other, but it is not an either/or proposition, rather it is both/and.

If stepping out in faith to serve others and share your faith seems a bit daunting, I encourage you to start praying to the Holy Spirit for the gift of courage to fall afresh on you. The Spirit will inspire you with ideas and the grace to fulfill the ideas. With the courage that comes from the Holy Spirit you can meet any opportunity God places before you.

If on the other hand you find it hard to commit to prayer and the sacramental life, I encourage you to pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of piety to fall afresh on you. The gift of piety draws us deeper in to the mystery of God and His love for us, the more of this we have, the more our service can impact the world for Jesus.

The world around us is full of hurting people with so many needs. Jesus is sending us to them, just like He has sent every generation before us.

In the words of St. Teresa of Ávila: “Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours.”

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
—St. Teresa of Ávila

Jeff Hedglen, Holy Spirit, Pentecost, follower of Jesus, transformation, encounter, service, trending-english