In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus comes to the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha after Lazarus has died. Jesus says to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” she said to him, “Yes Lord I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
The Most Important Question In Our Life
The readings this weekend were about life, death, and resurrection, which should be part of our daily reflection because we do not know the day or the hour when we will pass from this life to the next. As Paul points out in the second reading, eternal life begins now.
He says, “If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.” In other words, the one who created us out of love sustains that life in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit—from now unto eternity.
The most important question of our life: how do we know if his Spirit is dwelling in us?
- We know we received his Spirit in baptism when we became children of God and members of his Church. It is in his Church that he has given us the means to be confident that his Spirit is dwelling in us.
- He makes available to us an abundance of his grace through the sacraments, which are a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus waits for us to approach him in the sacraments so that we can receive the grace necessary to live our lives in communion with him. Without this grace, the Holy Spirit cannot dwell within us.
God has a wonderful plan for each of us, but God has to be the most important part of that plan.
St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” We can only be fully alive when the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us and influencing the way we live. The choice is ours. It is never too late. Mary and Martha thought it was too late for Lazarus, but Jesus proved them wrong. We must never forget that with Jesus, it is never too late, because his plan is eternal!
This Is Urgent
We may be tempted to think that there is no urgency to taking the word of God seriously… ‘There will be time enough later to prepare for eternal life.’
However, if the Holy Spirit is not dwelling in us now because we are not faithful to what God asks of us, how can we expect him to help us make right decisions now and in the future? Now is the time to prepare for the future. In addition, faithfulness to God is not only about being prepared for the future; it is about living in communion with God right now so that we can be confidant of his guidance and help. When we are connected to God, we will always have hope.
We are presently living in a time like no other. What we knew to be immoral a few years ago is now acceptable as normal and is even encouraged by our government and educational institutions. There has never been a time more difficult to be a parent or a child with so much confusion on so many issues.
I believe the number one contributing factor to this decline is the inability to believe in the mysteries of our faith; primarily the inability to believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The greatest gift Jesus has given us, next to our salvation, is the gift of himself in this holy sacrament. When we receive Holy Communion, we are receiving Jesus Christ; body, blood, soul and divinity. We are receiving Jesus, who is both God and man.
How is it that less than thirty percent of Catholics profess their belief in this supernatural gift? Jesus is the only one who can help us experience happiness now and for all eternity, even as we pass through the trials of life on earth. Because of this lack of faith, Catholics are leaving the Church in numbers not experienced before. If they truly believed in the Holy Eucharist, they would not leave the Church.
Jesus established the Catholic Church so that its members would be a light in a world of darkness. So that we might be that light, he gives us the grace we need through the sacraments of his Church. Every sacrament makes it possible to have intimacy with Jesus, but it is especially the sacrament of reconciliation and our participation in the holy Mass that enables us to be a light in the world.
How We Begin the Renewal
The renewal of our Christian faith begins with renewing our faith in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. That is why the bishops of the United States have called for a National Revival of the Holy Eucharist. There are many things happening at the national and local levels in regard to this effort, however I am going to suggest something at the personal level for each one of us…
If the thirty percent of Catholics who profess belief in the true presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist would go to confession at least once a month and remain in the state of grace to receive Jesus worthily, attend Mass at least once a week in addition to Sunday worship, spend one hour a week in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and pray a Rosary every day as Our Lady has requested; we would see an abundance of vocations to the religious life and a positive change in society.
Jesus waited until the fourth day to raise Lazarus from the dead to reveal the glory of God. Through the centuries, our Lord has revealed his desire to many saints that the Church honor his presence in the Blessed Sacrament. He has even performed Eucharistic miracles to convince doubters of his real presence in this holy sacrament.
Perhaps this is the time that God wants to reveal his glory. We who believe can make a difference if we will make that extra effort. All things are possible with God, but he has always expected those who believe in him to be the means he will use to bring about the change we desire.
Deacon Tom Fox, C.K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Commander Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.