‘If I had ever met someone who was a genuine Christian, I would have become one immediately’ – Gandhi.
‘Has the church become tired? Has preaching lost its edge? Have believers lost heart?’ These are not my questions. They were asked by the late Cardinal Carlo Martini SJ before he died at 84 some half dozen years ago.
The word of God we’ll hear this Sunday is challenging. Paul is on fire with a message and there are those who want to silence and destroy him. Genuine Christian love has to be more than idle talk. Like branches on the vine or fruit tree, believers need to be pruned regularly so as to live positively and make a difference.
As we journey through Easter and reflect on its message in the scriptures, we realize that faith arises from God’s pruning action within us. It involves acknowledging our wrongdoing and making amends. It’s a commitment to a way of living beyond good and secure feelings, even about God. It undertakes to carry on through thick and thin.
Faith that’s authentic involves love for God and service of others, commitment to justice and to a more human world. It’s marked by a sense of gratitude and the hope. In many ways it’s the stimulus that keeps us working and living in a dignified and responsible way.
Like St Paul on the road to Damascus, real faith comes from meeting Jesus Christ – though maybe not in such a dramatic fashion as Paul. Faith goes on discovering in Christ the God who is love, the God who keeps drawing us in and on. ‘God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them’ – 1 John 4,16.
“Easter means hope will prevail over despair, love over hate, justice over injustice, peace over exploitation and bitterness” – DESMOND TUTU
Fr. QQ 4/27/18