II Tim. 4:1-5 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (NAS)
It is absolutely clear that we are in these days described by St. Paul. Parent, who were poorly formed in their youth, are now bringing their own youth to the Church to receive their sacraments. They have no real understanding that the Sacraments are the means by which we CAN attain God. Therefore, they ignorantly force their children to get them, all the while no longer bringing them to Mass nor God.
They have come to believe that the Church and God has little relevance in the world and they guide their youth into worldly pursuits where they, the parents, get most out of their lives. They falsely believe that the sacraments will mysteriously get them to heaven even when their own hearts don’t desire God.
It is in this climate of “out of season” that the Church must engage them with the truth. We have been charged with making disciples, but we have settled for making volunteers. Lacking the very faith in the Gospel that would draw others to authentic belief in the Christ, we see the culture as so daunting that we have given up trying.
For years, we stopped believing in the message of the gospel and began to believe that the youth would no longer respond to the truth and the graces of the sacraments. So we used food, games, social activities as a means to draw the youth and their parents to church.
The problem was never the message! It was OUR BELIEF in it and OUR RESPONSE to it. Out of fear of their rejection, and the loss of their money, we no longer preach the truth about a relationship of love, life, death, sin, Satan and evil. We fear rocking the boat rather than patiently believing that God’s word will not go forth void!
The reason why our parishioners
may not believe in our message is because
WE LACK THE CONVICTION OF IT AND LIVE LIKE THEM!
Everyone who calls themselves disciples of Jesus must examine their beliefs and ask themselves where and why they don’t live on the word of God. Only in the light of that truth can we begin to see that others will never believe a message we are not willing to live. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us the truth and empower us to trust and live as if every part of our lives depended only on God! – Then we will make disciples!