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The Continuation of the Gospel

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What does it mean when St. Paul implores us to preach the Gospel?  Does that mean we need to know every word of scripture and shout it from a soap box on a street corner? While this could be one way, I would argue St. Paul is talking about a more personal Gospel.

I once knew someone who was fond of saying that the Bible has many chapters, but it is only the first chapter in the larger Gospel, the Good News of God. She claimed each one of us, our individual stories, are a continuation of that Gospel. We all have episodes of time where we feel close to God, but then something, like sin, separates us from Him. He then restores the relationship with us, causing us to turn back to Him and His Church. Each of these personal stories that we hold in our hearts are little Gospels. When we tell others of these stories we are doing what St. Paul implores in 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19 .

When I first became Catholic, I hesitated to share what God did in my life, because I thought I might sound crazy to others. However, in every instance, when I thought it would be poorly received, I was met instead with open minds and curiosity, even while working in the secular world as a recruiter at ManpowerGroup Solutions. 

As Simon says to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark 1:29-39, “Everyone is looking for you.”  Everyone around us is looking for a savior, most spend years searching in the wrong places. It is our responsibility to share Jesus, by sharing the Gospel He works in our lives, with them, so they might see and hope in Him. 

Temptation

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We all know the gospel passage of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This is one of my favorite stories for the language is so powerful. There is the presumption that the devil is in control of the world as he tempts Jesus. If you recall, he promises Jesus the world provided Jesus just bow down to the devil. Thankfully, Jesus knows better and shuts the devil down. With each denial of temptation, Jesus gains power against it. I love it! We gain strength against the devil each time we resist temptation. It is at this moment in the gospel that Jesus takes control so everyone watch out! From here, Jesus heads to Capernaum and gathers the disciples. Jesus starts taking back the world. He claims it for himself. Be cautious of the sin of presumption. Don't presume heaven is a given, one must align themselves with Jesus and do what He says. He has to recognize you and know you, for you are His, but is He yours? 

The Fire of the Holy Spirit

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We come across a very passionate and emboldened Jesus in Luke 12: 49-53. We are also given one of Jesus’ harder teachings to understand. What does Jesus mean that he didn’t come to bring peace? He is Jesus, isn’t that just what he does?

The point Jesus is trying to get across is this passage of Luke is that preaching the gospel will, at times, cause very difficult divisions. It is often said the two subjects never to talk about with family and friends are religion and politics. Why? Because these are such personal aspects of people’s lives. I’m sure we’ve come across many family tensions that are rooted in differences of faith or theological interpretations.

I wish that the world was set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I wish that every believer’s heart, including my own, could be so on fire with God’s love that our world would be transformed. Since we are people of faith we must also be aware that though the fire of the Spirit does burn bright, we have our work to do to share the gospel message.

Yes, we might experience conflict in living out our faith, but let’s pray with Jesus that the world be evermore set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit!