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Get out of the comfort zone

 

Our parish church is a welcoming place. It’s spacious, airy, bright. The pews are comfortable. We have heating in the winter and air conditioning (thank goodness!) in the summer. Restrooms with running water, beautiful gardens outside. We’re comfortable.

But we shouldn’t be.

Our priest, Father Stan Fiuk, reminded me of that in a recent homily.

I have been coasting. Comfortable. And I have allowed that to be enough.

But it isn’t.

Father Stan was right.

He said we focus on the miracles, the moment. Christ heals Simon’s mother-in-law. He heals a paralytic, a leper. Wow!

We see the miracle, experience the moment.

And we forget the message.

When we read -- really read -- the Bible, we can’t ignore the message.

And the message convicts and condemns us, when we really read, and comprehend.

Are we true followers, true believers?

If so, we’re not living comfortable lives.

If we truly live the message, we are anything but comfortable.

We live in challenging times. Each day, on the news, we hear of things that bring aches to our hearts and tears to our eyes. Persecution and executions of Christians for their faith. Families without enough food, clothing, or heat to survive the winter chill. People without clean water to drink. Children dying of preventable diseases.

The message is to love God, and our neighbor as ourselves. The message is to go and do as Christ has done for us.

Love God -- more than anything.

To love someone is to know them. That means read, comprehend, and live His Word.

In loving God, we must, therefore, love our neighbors. Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when they don’t deserve it. Whether they’re next door or far away.

And we must forgive.

Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when they don’t deserve it. Whether they’re next door or far away.

It’s Lent. What are we “giving up”? Chocolate? Beer? Dessert?

We need to give up comfort, complacency, convenience. We need to give up our excuses. We need to be people not of “giving up,” but of giving in -- to God’s call to put faith into action. What is God calling us to do, not just for Lent, but for life?

Jesus said:

Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Mark10:21).

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven ...(Matt. 5:11-12).

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matt. 6:25)

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).

This Lent, let’s not “give up.” Let’s look up the Message. Take up a cause. Stand up. Step up. Live up -- to being a Christ-follower.

 
 
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