“Whatever does not proceed from faith, is sin” (Rom.14, 23)
After a retreat we were in the Munich railway station waiting to board the train to Vienna for the next retreat. One advertisement on the platform caught my attention: ‘Endlich hab ich es gelernt:- “Lesen und Schreiben – mein Schlüssel zur Welt;” (‘Finally I have learnt: “Read and write- my key to the world”). Suddenly a truth struck my mind: “Endlich hab ich es gelernt: Die Bibel lesen und leben – mein Schlüssel zu Gott;” (‘At last I have learnt it: Read the Bible and live it – my key to God’!)
In this Year of Faith how nice would it be if everybody would understand this truth! Only if we live by faith, and live what God’s word tells us, our life would be different. It is our ‘listening to the proclamation of the Word of God (or reading and meditating it) that increases our faith’ (Rom. 10,17). But we also need to ‘be not only the hearers of the word but to be doers of the Word’ (James 1,22). “For length of days and years of life and abundant welfare, they will give you” (Prov. 3,2). “You must follow exactly the path that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, and that it may go well with you” (Deut. 5,33).
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we enter into this Covenant Relationship with God to live His Word and be His people. The life of the Risen Lord, which flows into me at Baptism, needs to grow in me day by day. We are called ‘to be the Word and give the Word to others’. Daily feeding on the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist helps one to grow into the maturity of Christ. The Holy Eucharist is the programme of acting our Christification. The institution of the Holy Eucharist is the fulfilment of the Covenant Relationship in the New Testament. “This cup that is poured out for you, is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk.22,19).
Jesus gave the Eucharist to his disciples (Mt.26,26). A disciple is one who does what the Master says. Nowadays there is a ‘shipwreck of faith’ in our lives; we do not know what real Christianity is, and the implication of the Sacraments which Jesus has instituted. We go wrong in many areas of our lives due to our ignorance of God’s Word (Mk.12,24) influenced by the modernism and secularism; we often lead lives outside the boundary line of the Ten Commandments and bear the consequences in our lives. To solve the problems we go to occult practices and paganism while rejecting the True Living God. And yet, without any prick of conscience we also go to church and receive the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul makes it clear that when we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we partake in the Body and Blood of Christ; whereas when we go for pagan practices we become partners with demons. We cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons. (cfr. 1 Cor. 10,16-21).
The Holy Eucharist is the Presence of Jesus’ life in my life and in the Church. In order to receive the Holy of holies, I need to keep my body and mind holy. Due to the frailty of my human nature if I commit sin, God gives me the provision to repent, confess, renounce my sin and decide myself to live as the disciple of Christ by living his Word. Yes, He is faithful to His Covenant Relationship!
A lot of cleansing is needed in the Church throughout the world. For example, The ‘voodoo’ cult has joined with the Church in Africa, South America and the Caribbean islands; in many countries in Europe many anti- Christian methods of meditation, occult healing practices, trying to know the future by approaching the evil spirits etc are being practised by many Catholics; still they consider themselves as ‘good practising Catholics’ because they go to church, pray and even receive Holy Communion. ‘They do not know what they do’, but that is not an excuse for breaking the Commandments, especially the First Commandment.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. The Lord your God you shall follow, him alone you shall fear, his Commandments you shall keep, his voice you shall obey, him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast. Although the nations that you are about to dispossess do give heed to soothsayers and diviners, as for you, the Lord your God does not permit you to do so” (Deut. 6,4; 13,4; 18,14). Due to the ignorance of the traffic rule, if we go wrong while driving the vehicle, we will have to face the consequences. So too, many people are suffering psychologically and physically,
Moses with the Ten Commandments – Ph. de Champaigne (WGoA)
as a consequence of their deeds of ignorance in matters of pagan practices. Is it not our great responsibility to awaken the conscience of our people, especially in this Year of Faith?