October 2018- The Silent Sermon
One morning Saint Francis told his little band of brothers that they were going to town to preach. In a little while, they left and entered through one gate of the town. They walked through town and through the center of the bustling market place. They continued on and were about to leave the town through another gate. One of the brothers asked: “Francis, when are we going to preach?” Francis replied: “We already have.”
We are all preaching every day by the way we live and especially by the way we treat our neighbors, including our enemies. We need to ask our self: “what am I preaching?” Francis and his brothers were preaching self-denial and holiness by the way they lived. They did not need to say a word.
And so what are we preaching? Do people see the Gospel lived out in our lives? Or do they see a life of laxity, luxury and even sin?
A person recently was thanked by someone they have been helping for some time. This person commented: “ I am merely living the way I believe I should live.” The person they are helping said: “The world would be a better place if more people would live like you do.” Can this be said about us? We need to think about this carefully.
Jesus said: “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) Later on (vs 16) Jesus says: “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus wants people to see our good works, so that they can glorify God, because He is ultimately the Author of them through His grace.
Are we letting God's grace work through us in such away, that we cannot hide our good works, because they are so plentiful?
Saint Francis founded the Franciscans on living the Gospels. This is a reminder to us to follow his holy example. We do not have to be monks or nuns to live the Gospels. Jesus preached the Gospels for all of us to live by, no matter what our station in life may be.
When Saint John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He was the one they were looking for, Jesus told them: “... the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5) We can conclude from this, that even the poor are bidden to live by the Gospels. If this is so, how much more should we, who are rich, live by them. As Jesus said: “And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.” (Luke 11:24) We have been blessed by Almighty God for a reason.
And so, let us preach by who we are and how we act.