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A call to apostolate

The Gospel reading for today’s Mass is, I think, one of the most popular across a wide spectrum of Christians.  It is a call to Confession, a reminder of the power of Christ to heal both mind and body and it helps us to remember the greatest evil in the world is sin and not any physical impairment no matter how terrible.  It is also a call for us as Christians to serve others – not just in the physical helps we offer to those in need but, as Christ did in this reading, also to help others spiritually as well.  It is a call to apostolate, a word not heard nearly often enough these days and a service so desperately needed by the Church and the world.  We are called not merely to try to get ourselves to Heaven, but to help our brothers and sisters attain to heaven as well.

The positive obligation of cooperating in good should lead every Christian to bring Christ’s message to every human activity – professional work included – in the best way he or she can.  The true Christian cannot simply avoid doing evil himself, being careless about the influence actions have on the behavior of others.  The friends of the paralytic do not limit themselves to not doing evil.  They act.  They help the sick man to get closer to Jesus.  The help him in his desire to get well by paving the way for our Lord’s miracle: Your sins are forgiven.

The Christian must cooperate in the common good by seeking and offering positive solutions to the perennial problems; he or she cannot limit himself or herself to simply not voting for a party or a programme which attacks Christian family values, or is against freedom in teaching, or favours legislation directed against life from its conception.  There must be a constant, deep doctrinal apostolate, free from false prudence, and not afraid of going against the stream in issues which are vital for society itself and upon which there is complete disorientation or else a partial truth that often causes more confusion.

In Conversation with God, Fr. Francis Fernandez

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