Dear brothers and sisters, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
You Will Be My Witnesses
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts. 1:8). These were the words of Jesus Christ to His apostles before His eventual ascension into heaven. I always read the passage with a bit of nostalgia. The seminary I attended and got my formation for the priesthood, Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria, had adopted as her motto and mission statement, “Eritis Mihi Testes,” which is translated as “you shall be my witnesses.” Being a witness and bearing witness for Christ, His person, His nature, and His works are the responsibilities of not only the apostles but those who wish to be Christ’s followers. It requires serious commitment and devotion.
Various Ways of Being a Witness for Jesus Christ
There are various ways through which we can bear witness and become witnesses for Jesus Christ and His works. Being a faithful Christian, living a life of sacrifice, and living out our Christian life according to God’s will and commandments is an ideal way of being a witness for Christ. Through such a Christian living, the Christian becomes an excellent example of true Christian life and God’s love, thus drawing souls to Christ. In the first letter to Timothy, St Paul says, “set (be) an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity” (1 Tim 4:12). Living an ideal Christian life is showing Christ to people. We are always reminded to be careful how we live our lives as Christians because we might be the only Bible someone will ever read.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus talked about openly declaring ourselves for Him in the presence of human beings. It might sound simple, but indeed sometimes, it is a difficult task to do as Christians and disciples of Jesus Christ. Our world tends to be hostile to Christians and their sets of beliefs and doctrines. Persecutions and deriding of Christians are on the increase. Sometimes, this results in creating fear and makes Christians fearful of living and practicing their faith. On another note, some Christians are ignorant, ashamed, or downright unserious with their faith and Christian life. It becomes a herculean and arduous task for them to witness for their faith, stand firm, be confident and courageous against the persecution and hostility they face, let alone declare Christ before the people.
Be Not Afraid
The truth is, we should not be timid or afraid of who we are as Christians. We should not be intimidated or cowed into fear or inferiority because of our Christian calling. St Paul advises us, “do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord” (2 Tim 1:8). We should be proud of who we are, our identity, and our being followers of Jesus Christ and children of God. It is an honor and a privilege to declare Jesus Christ before the people. Declaring Jesus Christ before people is a real commitment to witness for Him and practice the Christian faith. Jesus’s promise to those who declare Him before the people is that He will declare them in the presence of God and His angels. However, for those who disown Him in the presence of human beings, Jesus Christ will disown them in the presence of God and His angels.
St. Teresa of Avila, Our Saint of the Day
Today in the Church’s sanctoral calendar, we celebrate St. Teresa of Avila. She was born to a Spanish noble family in 1515. Teresa was a Carmelite nun. She was a reformer who initiated the reformation of the Carmelite order that led to the formation of the Discalced Carmelites. St. Teresa was a mystic and a theologian. She inspired many people to holiness through her holiness of life, devotion, mysticism, asceticism, and prayer life. Her writings, especially The Interior Castle and The Way of Perfection, taught people the values of contemplative and mental prayer. There is no doubt that she was a profitable witness for Christ. She declared herself openly for Christ before the people. Let us follow in her footsteps.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!