“The Gospel lives in conversation with culture, and if the Church holds back from the culture, the Gospel itself falls silent. Therefore, we must be fearless in crossing the threshold of the communication and information revolution now taking place.” - Pope John Paul II
Scripture Text: 2 Tm 1:1-3, 6-12
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel,
for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher.
On this account I am suffering these things;
but I am not ashamed,
for I know him in whom I have believed
and am confident that he is able to guard
what has been entrusted to me until that day.
Before Christianity was called Christianity, it was called The Way. In the Scripture text above, Paul, presumably from prison, and soon to die for Christ, is encouraging Timothy to have fortitude, despite The Way being difficult. It is from this thought that I will reflect.
Paul tells us that we have the gifts of: power, love and self-control (v 4). So why are we ashamed to proclaim our faith in the public square? Why, despite living in a country with a freedom of religion, is it uncomfortable to mention God in a conversation? Perhaps we have been more successful at secularizing church and state than we realize.
“The Way” calls us to more than a Facebook status and church on Sundays. “The Way” is a transformative lifestyle, not an after thought. “The Way” is neither glamorous nor comfortable, although we may try to make it so; but if we look at Christianity’s examples, the saints, they were all called to completely die to their selfishness (i.e. St Francis; St Ignatius Loyola, St Teresa of Avila, etc). Is our call to holiness from God any different then theirs? These individuals epitomize power, love and self-control. They were not ashamed of their faith nor did they shy from those who chastised them. To be a saint is to be radical!
My challenge, and every Christian’s challenge, is to be radical.