The parable of the two sons reveals the power of our actions to define ourselves in the context of the unique aspects of our lives.
Tag Archives: Actions
It’s our actions, not our words, that reveal to others the contents of our hearts. The Lord makes this clear when he teaches that we know people by the fruitfulness of their lives. May Christ’s words inspire us to bear fruit in all that we do!
Jesus teaches the disciples to speak simply and plainly. In a world full of words it is a good reminder! May our words reflect our actions with clear transparency, helping us deepen the relationships in our lives with trust and integrity.
The Lord reminds us that when our actions serve God we build our lives on solid rock that can withstand the storms of life. Today we look at what we do and determine how we can offer our lives to Jesus Christ.
A father asks his two sons to do a task:
- The first said no, but changes his mind and did it
- The second said yes, but never did it
Which one did the Father’s will? The one who acted. May we turn our “no” to God into a “yes” that is seen in our actions.
What is the script of my thoughts, words, and actions? If I were to write down what I think, speak, and do would it point to Christ? Would it even include Jesus?
We are witnesses for the Lord, and as his disciples we can make changes in our lives – changing the script – so that grace of Christ renews and strengthens our lives.
This homily was given at St. William Church in Foxboro, WI on April 18, 2015.
Study: Where do I consistently observe the Lord in my life? How do I show others that I follow Jesus Christ?
Pray: Does something need to change in my life today? Call upon the Lord for grace and strength.
Serve: Is someone in your life struggling, searching for faith or challenged to live it? How can you help?
How do people know that we are Christians? What “proof” do we offer that clearly reveals the Lord we follow?
Three key areas come to mind:
- What we are thinking
- What we are speaking
- What we are doing
The pattern of our faith is observed within these arenas of daily life. Everything begins with thought: what comes from within us and moves outward is revealed by what we say and do. Our speech signals our behavior: what we say; how we say it; to whom we speak; and the context in which it is said. Our actions close the deal: our behavior ultimately rests in the consistent pattern of the real results we accomplish.
Knowing this, we can then ask: does the Lord reside in these areas? Is he present in my thoughts, words, and actions? I find it helpful to evaluate this question with a daily examination – reviewing the day with a mental “written transcript” where I walk through what I thought, said, and did – looking for Christ’s presence in my life.
Everyday, in 1001 great and small ways, we have the chance to show those around us that Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives. We are uniquely placed in the world to touch the hearts of those in our midst; they will see in us a pattern that will either proclaim the Good News…or else we testify to something else.
“You are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:48
Pastoral Note: This weekend is First Communion for many kids at the Cathedral. Please keep them and their families in your prayers!
St. Paul Preaching in Athens, Raphael; 1515, 768 x 581 pixels, Royal Collection of the United Kingdom.
Study: Reflect on some people who live their faith through their loving thoughts, words, and actions.
Pray: Is there a person or situation in your life that calls for greater charity? Ask the Lord for the wisdom and guidance to do it.
Serve: Is there someone in your life right now who would benefit from your time, attention, and/or effort? How can you help?
I thought I would take this week to talk about something that arises out of the gospel message. The question comes from the insight of Jesus in today’s reading. Simply put, what is the central and most important part of being a Christian? What should be the focus around which we build our lives?
The answer is explicit: LOVE.
Jesus takes the two commands, love of God and love of neighbor and links them as the heart of the Christian message – from which the teaching of the entire Scriptures finds its soul. Love is the sign of the Church, it is the proof of faith, and it is the reality which reveals to others the depth of our commitment as disciples of Jesus Christ.
But what do these commands mean for us? After all, the question for each of us is “How does the law of Love affect me? How do these commands shape my life?”
I look at this from three different angles:
* By how I THINK.
* By how I SPEAK.
* By how I ACT.
In other words, do my thoughts, words, and actions reveal the law of love in my life? When I look at myself in each of these areas do I measure up with the commands of Jesus?
Imagine that each of these parts of life could be made into a movie. I see myself watching “The Thoughts of Fr. Andrew,” followed by “The Words of Fr. Andrew,” and then “The Actions of Fr. Andrew.” Do I like what I see on the screen?
When we come to the end of our lives, I doubt if many of us will wish we had worked more, or earned more money, or bought more things. In the end I expect most of us will wish we had spent more time loving the people in our lives – through what we thought, said, and did.
This love, which comes from God, is intended for us to share while we are here on earth. Our faith tells us that one day the Lord will call us home. On that day may we find ourselves prepared; having loved one another in this life we will then step into eternal Love in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Study: When in your life have actions “shouted down” the words we hear?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the strength to be consistent in what we say and do.
Serve: How do my words encourage others? How do my actions show my care and support?
It seems like there are certain phrases that get said throughout our lives. These words are commands, invitations, and requests to make things happen – and they come in many forms:
“Take out the trash”
“Clean your room”
“Do the dishes”
“Come to my…” (athletic game, concert, etc.)
“Would you volunteer at…” (pick one!)
“Help me with…”
Let’s face it. We are asked to do many things throughout this life. From chores and tasks to acts of kindness and civil responsibility, many of these actions are simply part of our existence on this earth.
Yet once we hear these words we are asked to respond. This happens in two crucial ways:
* What we say (our WORDS)
* What we do (our ACTIONS)
When we are confronted with a request or invitation how we respond says a lot about who we are. If our words and actions are in agreement everything is fine – “yes” means yes and “no” means no. But if we say one thing and do another, then the weight of our choice is measured in our actions.
This is the message of the Gospel today. Jesus speaks of two sons who receive a request from their father. One says yes but does not act, the other says no but changes his mind and acts. In the end, the one who acted did his father’s will.
We journey through life confronted by countless choices everyday. Some things we know should be done, others should not. Some things are options that could be done; we have to weigh the priorities of our time, energy, ability, and need. Yet what we discover is that we are defined not by what we say, but by what we do.
As people of faith we have other commands to follow: Love God; Love one another; Repent and forgive; Work for justice; Seek peace. Indeed our faith is reflected not in our words but our actions; even the Golden Rule “Do to others as you would have them do to you…” (Mt 7:12) is nothing more than a reminder that actions speak louder than words.