Monday, December 10, 2012
Synopsis of Holy Father's Catechesis for Dec.5
This week our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, again poses a very important question. “How can we talk about God in our time?” What he is asking is how can we talk about God in such a way that we open hearts to his saving truth in our modern day hearts, which he observes are all too often closed to God, and our minds, which he observes are too often distracted by the immediacy and attractions of the world in which we live. This is not something new that we do! Jesus himself did it when He asked “With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?” It is, in fact, something that must be done constantly and ever anew because the people to whom we are sent as evangelists of the Gospel are always going to be different – we ourselves are different from our grandparents, our parents, even ourselves as we continue to march through time. Did you ever wonder why there are four gospels in the Bible?
So, getting back to the question at hand… In his catechesis our Holy Father delves into the reality of God and his interest and action in human affairs. He brings out from the Gospels how Jesus was concerned about every aspect of human life and every condition of the people with whom He was confronted in his time of human existence on earth. He shows through the wide variety of parables and analogies that Jesus Christ uses that we must be constantly alert to the condition of those to whom we are giving witness by our words and by our very lives so that our words and actions may speak ever more eloquently to the truth of God’s presence and action among us.
It is critically important that we recognize, first in our own lives and then in our resulting witness, that God is not a distant hypothesis concerning the world’s origins, a philosophical or moral system, or some mathematical intelligence far from us. In other words, God is more than a clockmaker, nor does He watch us “from a distance” (UGH! I’m sorry Bette Midler, but that was a terrible song!). Through the mystery of the Incarnation, Christ’s presence among us, we come to know that God is a person, or more accurately a community of persons, who desires a very personal and loving relationship with us. This means that, in our life of faith, and especially as we seek to communicate this faith to those around us the spotlight is not on us! The spotlight must be squarely on God and his action in our lives, the relationship into which He has invited us and which becomes our primary identity and the driving force in our lives.
Our Holy Father points to St. Paul in making this point. He reminds us of how St. Paul sought always to point the spotlight clearly on Jesus Christ. St. Paul was very clear that he was not bringing to the people to whom he had been sent a new philosophy or new religious or cultural movement. He sought only “to preach Christ, and Him crucified.”
There is so much more that our Holy Father has to say, more than fits into this small space. However, I’d like to highlight this last thing. The most effective place for communicating who God is and how He acts in our life is within the FAMILY. Pope Benedict reminds us again that the Church needs parents to “rediscover their mission, assuming responsibility in educating, in opening the consciences of their little ones to love of God as a fundamental service to their life and in being the first catechists and teachers of the faith for their children.” Children need to understand that their faith is not a burden but rather a source of profound joy. Children need to see in the lives of their parents the Easter Joy that “does not stay silent or conceal the realities of pain, of suffering, of effort, of difficulty of incomprehension and of death itself, but that can offer criteria for interpreting all things in the perspective of Christian hope.” Parents need to communicate in their daily lives, and especially their family life, the singular joy that faith in Jesus Christ brings into their lives.
So much to digest and so little space in which to digest it! Just remember this: Our faith is not merely a club to which we belong or a system of beliefs by which we sort of live. Our faith is a real and personal relationship with the living God who loves us and claims us as his very children and invites us to be a part of his family in Jesus Christ. How cool is that???
Remember who you are!