CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Christ is risen! Now what are you going to do about it?

Tricia Bølle
 
“Christ is Risen!” 
“He is truly risen!”
 
So goes the (hopefully enthusiastic) call and response of the Christian faithful as we celebrate this truly joyous occasion when our salvation was won and new life given to us through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Easter is the time when we as Christians should feel fully alive and brought to our knees with tears of joy and in awe of God’s great mercy and love. For in Christ’s death and resurrection, we find a love so profound, a mercy so deep, that we are left speechless. How can our God love us so? We who are so unworthy... 
 
Yet God gives us the gift of grace—the beautiful gift of sanctifying grace—and it is in this grace, by faith, that we have hope for our lives. In this hope, we can rest in the love of Christ and find peace.
 
For Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to humankind. It is the singular event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead and given new life and a share in the beatific vision of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
But what makes this so amazing for us? It is as St. Paul describes: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Thus, even though we are sinners, we know that there awaits us something far greater than anything we could ever hope to gain in this life —that is to be united with the Father in heaven.
 
Because of this hope we have in Christ, because of His love for us, we know that we can ultimately endure whatever hardships we may face in life. In so doing, we are brought closer to the suffering Jesus lovingly bore for us on the cross. He is our strength, manifested in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. And he is our hope, because out of his suffering and death he rose to new life. This faith we have in the resurrection of our Lord gives us hope for our own lives. In this hope we can find comfort away from the sin and sadness of this world, since by Christ’s resurrection we know that all our sufferings will fall away when we are brought into union with the Lord.
 
“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” – St. Paul
 
But what good is this hope, this joy, this beautiful life that we have in Christ if it is not shared with others? In fact, as sons and daughters of the Living God baptised into the mystical Body of Christ, we are all called to share the gospel! From Jesus to Pope Francis, to your local parish priest, a cry is going out saying that you, you are the one called to be an evangelist for Christ. St. John Paul II reiterates this in Christifidelis Laici, “The lay faithful, precisely because they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel.”
 
Christ is Risen! Now what are you going to do about it? How are you seeking to be a witness of your faith in your daily lives and proclaim the Risen Christ? The very gift of faith that we have received through the Holy Spirit is, in part, through the efforts of another who instructed us in the Truth while we were still ignorant. How are you going to be that person to another?
 
How many of your friends, coworkers, classmates know that you are Catholic? Who can you reach out to among the people you encounter regularly and begin to have an intentional conversation about faith and life? Wouldn’t it be great if at every Easter in the years to come, a friend, colleague, family member, or maybe that smiley barista at your Pacific Coffee addiction, or the person you sat down and had an initial conversation with on the MTR, is up there by the altar being welcomed into the Christian family after having just been baptised! And you were there as an important part of their journey of faith to truly encounter Jesus Christ for the first time. Wouldn’t it be great? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we put our sung Glorias during the Easter season into action. But how to begin?
 
Evangelisation is a process that begins with relationship. First and foremost, it begins with our relationship with Jesus Christ. Following that, it is the relationship that we begin to build with that other child of God that we encounter in our lives, that allows trust to build and the seeds of faith to be planted. Through prayer, conversation, and allowing for the Holy Spirit to work through us and our charisms, we are able to accompany that person along their journey of faith to know God and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Ideally, through this accompaniment, we too may grow in our faith as we draw closer to God in sharing our faith with others.
 
So this Easter season, who in your life do you want to offer an invitation to joy, to hope, to peace and to love through a relationship in Christ Jesus? Who in your life will you humbly and graciously share that beautiful gift of faith that you yourself have been so blessed to receive? May the Lord be with you in all your good works.
 
Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Now go, and proclaim the Gospel of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ!
 
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
 
 
 
Tricia Bølle is the founder of the St. Francis Xavier 
Lay Missionary Society. Her mission is to draw all people, 
especially young adults, into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God
and to encourage Christians to actively live out their faith and calling in Christ.