This will be your opportunity to bear witness…

This weekend’s Gospel from Luke reminds us to be ready to stand up for our faith and not to be deceived into thinking the Kingdom of God is at an end by worrying about the events in the world or the disparaging way in which we see many Christians being treated.

To follow on from the recent visit of Pope Benedict, September 2010 we are urged to respond and affirm through our faithfulness his comment ‘that the Catholics of this land will become ever more conscious of their dignity as a priestly people, called to consecrate the world to God through lives of faith and holiness.’        

One of the key documents from the Second Vatican Council was Lumen Gentium; the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which can also be understood as ‘Christ is the Light to all humanity.’ 

In Chapter 4:31 we read that ‘The duty of the laity, which springs from their own vocation to seek the kingdom of God in the transaction of worldly business and the godly arrangement they give it.  Their life is lived in the world.  It is lived in each and all of the world’s occupations and employments and in the ordinary situations of the life of the family and society.  This is the context of their existence.  This is where they have their call from God to make their contribution to the sanctification of the world from the inside, as a leaven, by tackling their own job with the spirit of the gospel as their guide.  This is the principal way in which Christ is to be shown to others, by their life’s witness, in the glow of their faith, their hope and their charity.  It is their especial concern to bring such light and order to all worldly business, in which they are deeply involved, that it may be performed and developed in Christ’s way, and may give glory to the Creator and the Redeemer.’

This passage is rich in its parallels with the Rite and aspects of the Catechumenate when catechumen and candidates are encouraged to consider the ways in which their lives in the ordinary experiences of work and family life are impacted by the action of God.  It is also where the opportunity to witness to our faith comes alive.  RCIA teams, groups and parish communities express this witness in their love, prayers and support for the catechumens and candidates. The ways in which we greet, work and interact with people each day is a significant example of how we show and share our love of God. 

RCIA 75.2 reiterates the themes from Lumen Gentium when it offers the instruction:

‘As they become familiar with the Christian way of life and are helped by the example and support of sponsors, godparents, and the entire Christian community, the catechumens learn to turn more readily to God in prayer to bear witness to the faith, in all things to keep their hopes set on Christ, to follow supernatural inspiration in their deeds, and to practice love of neighbour, even at the cost of self-renunciation.’ 

 Archbishop Vincent Nichols wrote recently that in order to accept the Pope’s invitation that to be more overt in our expressions of faith we could take small steps such as offering to pray for and with people, making the sign of the cross or simply saying ‘God bless you’ all of which can be daily signs and witness of our faith and which encourage others to ‘become familiar with the Christian way of life.’ 

 God Bless You.