Archive | 3:43 pm

Leaping to Action

12 Feb

frogs on log“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” –Matthew 28:19-20

Like St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Mass ends with a commissioning, as we’re to go forth and glorify the Lord by our lives. We are sent to bring the light of Christ to all the world. Deep down we know we’re not supposed to keep our faith to ourselves or under a bushel basket, but instead it is given to us so that in turn we can give it away.

Faith, without words, without actions, is dead (cf. Jas. 2:17). A faith that does not change us and does not lead to godly action is ineffectual–for ourselves and others. As Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia once said, it’s not an accident that the book of the Bible is called “Acts of the Apostles” and not “Pious Sentiments of the Apostles” or “Good Intentions of the Apostles.” Our faith impels us to act for, as recent popes have stressed, the Church by her nature is missionary.

Pope Francis has beautifully written that once we accept the faith, which draws us into God’s love and leads us to love Him in return, “brings forth in our lives and actions a primary and fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 178).

I’ve used the following riddle with my children: Three frogs are sitting on a log. Two of them decide to jump into the water. How many are left on the log? The answer, of course, is three, because there’s a huge difference between deciding to jump and actually jumping. Good actions come from good intentions, but are not their necessary consequence. Sometimes my kids will very sincerely tell me they’ll clean their room or be attentive at Mass, but something is lost in the execution. At that point, I tell them to be “wet frogs,” and they finally begin to put their good intentions into action.

Jesus warns all His disciples, both through parables and explicit exhortations, that one doesn’t dabble in Christianity. If we’re truly with Him and His Church, we must jump off the log and bear witness to Him in word and action.