Chaplain’s Word – February 2012

Awakening the Giant

Dear Joshua men of God! Greetings for this New Year of Redemption 2012. May it be a grace-filled year for you and for all your family members. May it be a grace-filled year for all your friends and acquaintances. May it be a grace-filled year for all who seek the face of God, a grace-filled year once again for all who have abandoned the grace of God, and for all those who still sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

What can the year 2012 hold out for each of us personally? Already, we will have some insight into that. What does it hold out for the Joshua Catholic Men’s Fellowship? We may even have some vision about that too. Like yourself, I am listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying, for the times we live in are perilous and the call of the Gospel is more urgent than ever. So many there are, even in our midst, who have not heard or embraced the Good News of the Gospel.

We are blessed with our gift of faith. Many thirst for faith. Many more have abandoned their faith in God. Many have never had the gift of faith. Our temptation is to believe that “my personal faith” is all God requires of me. If that is so then we have been deaf to the call of the Spirit. We rejoice in our “Life in the Spirit”. It’s our precious inheritance as Spirit-filled Christians. The Holy Spirit comes to us, as he did for the first disciples at Pentecost, to empower us to live the Christian life and to be witnesses to the ends of the earth; “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes and then you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” Acts 1:8.

The Holy Spirit is calling out to the whole Church to proclaim Christ anew to the people of our time. Now is the time to awaken the sleeping giant. The Church is a sleeping giant. There are two billion Christians in the world today, over one billion Catholics. Every man, woman and child, the whole six billion people in the world today, have an entitlement to hear the Good News and to find salvation in Christ.

Jesus proclaimed Good News in his time. We must do the same.

Christianity presents itself as the religion of the Spirit and of power; that is, supported by supernatural signs, charisms and miracles. We have the God-given means to bring peoples and nations to Christ. The Joshua Fellowship too, must be in step with the mission of the Church.

Let us hear again the parable of the sower. “And he said: The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” Mark 4:26-29.

After having sown the seed, the sower can go to sleep because the life of the seed no longer depends on him. He has fulfilled his task, now God can work through his grace. The sower of the parable who goes out to sow is not worried by the fact that part of the seed ends up on the road or among thorns. How many times have we heard of people we least expected, who have listened to a testimony or heard a sermon that  changed their life. I myself have known many.

If there is something we can do, after having “sown,” it is to “irrigate” with prayer the seed sown. So, we end with the prayer that the liturgy brings us to recite in the Mass “for the evangelization of peoples”:

      “O God, you will all peoples to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.

      See how great is the harvest. Send labourers into the harvest so that the Gospel is

      proclaimed to all the world. And your people, gathered by the word of life and

      moulded by the strength of the sacraments, will proceed on the path of salvation

      and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Fr Bruce CSsR.  

cbm@redskiwi.org.nz