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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

A Church at Peace and Growing (The Way Forward in Christ Part 222)

April 28, 2024

Today’s readings:

Acts 9:26-31

Psalm 22:27-29,31-321

John 3:18-24

John 15:1-8

    

     Today our Church faces many challenges, including growing apostasy among the faithful and modernism in the hierarchy. Our peace is greatly disturbed and the Church seems to be stagnating. The early Church also faced many challenges, but also had times of glorious growth. We look to such a time, and learn from the lessons of the past. “The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the holy Spirit it grew in numbers.” (Acts 9:31).     We look at three aspects: (1) being built up; (2) walking in the fear of the Lord; and (3) consoled by the Holy Spirit. There are many elements of faith that make these up.


Being built up


     This is about living the way of Christ and growing in holiness. This necessitates a number of actions:

  • Conversion and turning to Jesus in faith. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.” (Ps 22:28a).

  • Praise and worship of God. “Those who seek the Lord will offer praise.” (Ps 22:27b).

  • Keeping God’s commandments. “we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” (1 Jn 3:22b).

  • Continuing to be pruned. “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” (Jn 15:2).

  • Living for and serving Jesus. “And I will live for the Lord; my descendants will serve you.” (Ps 22:31).

  • Loving the brethren. “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 Jn 3:18).

Walking in the fear of the Lord


     This is about growing in discipleship. This necessitates a number of actions:

  • Submission to God and His will. “All the families of nations will bow low before him.” (Ps 22:28b).

  • Recognizing the kingship of Jesus in our lives. “For kingship belongs to the Lord, the ruler over the nations.” (Ps 22:29).

  • Obeying God’s commandments, loving God and neighbor. “And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.” (1 Jn 3:23).

Consoled by the Holy Spirit

      This is about being warriors of the Spirit. This necessitates a number of actions:

  • Remaining in Jesus. Jesus says, “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” (Jn 15:4a). “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us.” (1 Jn 3:24).

  • Doing the work of evangelization. We proclaim Christ and help bring people to salvation, through the generations. “The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.”

 

 

     Jesus won for us our salvation and built us up as his Church. We are his disciples and we continue to do his work, proclaiming him to the world and making other disciples. In this God intends for us to bear much fruit. For this to happen, we need to be intimately connected with Jesus, drawing our very life and vitality from him, as branches to the vine. “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5).


     Even though there is strife and disunity all around us, we can be at peace—with ourselves and with others, especially with our brethren in Christ. Then the work can continue to progress and the Church experience further growth.

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