During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.
March 31, 2022
Jesus said to the Jews,
31 “If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; 32 there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know that you have not the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 5:31–47). (2006). Ignatius Press.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus said that the works He was doing testified on His behalf that He was sent from the Father. How do your works testify that you are also sent by Jesus on mission?
It was not only the Apostles who were given the Great Commission. The laity have a special responsibility to evangelize, since we have access to places that the ordained do not (our homes, our workplaces, etc.). All disciples of Christ are priests, prophets, and kings. The Catechism says this: “Lay people fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life. For lay people, this evangelization acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 905).
So our prophetic mission is to proclaim Christ by word and the testimony of life. I believe God has given me opportunities to operate in both of these areas, and in both areas I often stumble, and in both areas I certainly wish to grow further.
Proclamation of Christ by word
The more we saturate ourselves with God’s Word and meditate upon His truth, the more we will recognize opportunities for discussions when we hear them in general conversation. We should also ask that God in His grace would provide us with wisdom and humility. If we are humble, we won’t be ashamed of the Gospel; if we have wisdom, we will recognize opportunities to share our faith. For example, when my coworkers and I talk about our weekend plans, I don’t hide the fact that attending Mass and spending time with my kids are the two highlights of my Saturday. And I’ll openly read my Bible or pray the Rosary during my lunch break if I didn’t have time to before work. There’s always a balance to find, of course. We can be tempted by pride to try to make ourselves look “holy,” and we can be tempted by fear to hide our faith. We must ask God to help us avoid either of these pitfalls. Along with humility and wisdom, we must ask God that everything we do will be for His glory alone.
Proclamation of Christ by the testimony of life
This is assuredly a “work zone” in my life. I’ve lived the majority of my life for myself. Within the last couple of years, though, my home life has been transformed by the Holy Spirit working in my heart to understand the sacrificial nature of love; however, I still often fall far short of reflecting the patient and understanding love that has been given to me. At work, I try to handle every situation with integrity, remembering the command given to us: “Obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:22-23, NIV). I want my life to align with the guidance given by Paul: “to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, […] 12 so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, RSV2CE).
Lord, give me obedience and humility when following the directions of those whom You have placed in leadership over me. Give me patience and understanding while I lead those whom You have given me care of. Fill me with Your love that I may act in charity in all I do. Bring glory to Your name alone through my actions this day and every day. Jesus, let me love my wife sacrificially, as You love Your Church. Heavenly Father, let me love my children unconditionally, as You have loved me. Holy Spirit, make me more like Christ every day. Help me to to proclaim Christ through my words and my life each day.