Jesus is the Answer

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In Acts 6 and 7, we read about the first deacon, Stephen, whose preaching ignited a firestorm of reaction from people who knew better.  They stoned him to death and launched the great Christian diaspora (scattering). 

Pope Francis summarizes:  “They left their homes, they brought with them only few belongings; they carried with them the wealth they had: the faith…the wealth that the Lord had given them. They were a simple faithful, baptized just a year or so—but they had the courage to go and proclaim.  And people believed them!  They worked miracles.”

They had nothing but “the power of baptism” that “gave them apostolic courage, the strength of the Spirit.”  The Pope went on to say, “I think of us, the baptized: do we really have this strength—and I wonder—do we really believe in this? Is Baptism enough?”

St. Paul writes in II Corinthians 4:7 that, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  We are weak human beings and yet in that weakness is contained the very power of God! 

We have in our day succumbed to the great seduction:  despite the power of God living within us, we have looked elsewhere for “salvation”, for the healing of the world. 

We have placed all our eggs in one basket, someone else’s basket.  We pray, certainly.  But, then we look for deliverance from the brokenness of our lives and the ills in our time on the outcome of elections, referenda, Supreme Court rulings, the mandates of our leaders, and the passage of laws.  While these centers of power are certainly important to God’s plan and justifiably deserve our attention and our activism, they can never provide “the final solution.”

In truth, God is calling us to face the harsh reality that it is not the government that is going to truly heal the world.  It is up to us:  it will be personal and sometimes painful.  Jesus warned us: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. (Matthew 16:24)

We stand up for Gospel values when we support a mother bringing her child to term or a couple growing in devotion to their marriage covenant; when we actively feed the hungry and tell the truth on our tax returns; when we spend time with our families and keep work in proper balance; when we respect the earth and conserve food and natural resources; when we dare to worship on Sundays and live them as days of rest.

As the sign says, “Jesus is the Answer.”   And, folks, he lives in us.