Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Sad Fact 60% Of American Catholics Believe!

“An official asked him (Jesus) this question, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and mother.’ ‘And he replied, ‘All of these I have observed from my youth.’ When Jesus heard this he said to him, ‘There is still one thing left for you; sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ But when he heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich.” (Luke 18: 18-23)

“What good is it; my brothers, if someone say he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2: 14-17)“Francis sympathized lovingly and compassionately with those stricken with any physical affliction and he immediately referred to Christ the poverty or deprivation he saw in anyone. He was kind and gentle by nature and the love of Christ merely intensified this. His soul melted at the sight of the poor or infirm and where he could not offer material assistance he lavished his affection.” (Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis of Assisi, Chap. 8, Para. 5)

Sometimes, something has to be reported on television before it really grabs you. This happened to me today. I have glanced at the stories being reported by the National Catholic Reporter, from the survey they helped sponsored concerning Catholics in America. What I missed was a fact reported by the television program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly; that 60% of American Catholics believe that you do not have to donate anything to help the poor, nor work for the poor, and still can consider yourself a “good” Catholic!

Now I really went ballistic over this. If one looked at the tradition of the Church; if one examines the lives of a majority of Catholic saints, I believe, one sees a constant theme of how important service to the poor is in the life of the Church. And I do not mean just the charitable institutions of the Church, I mean the entire community of believers. If one believes in Jesus Christ, one follows the teachings Jesus Christ, to love God with all our heart and soul; and to love our neighbors. And that does not just mean our middle class neighbors, it means all of them, poor, disabled, and foreigner.

We are called to share the love of Christ we experience through the Eucharist with everyone we come in contact, by any means at our disposal. By our words and actions, we are to show to the world the power of the Gospel we preach. If we cannot live the faith we believe in, each of us individually, then that faith is truly dead. And the world will cast us aside.

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