Sunday, March 6, 2011

Actions speak louder than words

As many of you know, I did not grow up in the Catholic Church; I grew up Baptist. In the baptist church the closest one might get to movement was clapping your hands.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the Catholic Church and found it difficult to keep with the constant motion:stand for this, sit for that, kneel for the other, make the sign of the cross, bow your head, genuflect, cross yourself three times at the gospel, and don't forget to dip your finger in the holy water and cross yourself on the way out. Then there were the incense, the lighting of candles, the processing, and the visiting of statues,(keep in mind my first experience of Catholicism was in Nicaragua). As a 16 year old boy all of this seemed odd at best, part of the ritual of the Catholic Church and the word ritual to us was not a good one.

Today's readings however remind us once more that what we do in church is practice for what we do in the rest of our lives. Throughout the liturgy we not only listen to the word of God, but the words are accompanied with actions. As the gospel reminds us, saying "Lord, Lord",professing faith with our mouth alone, is not enough.

We are physical creatures as well as spiritual, what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell has an impact on our being. Why did the teacher in school tell us to sit up and pay attention?-posture(action) matters. Every study shows that how people dress for work or school changes how they behave, and our behavior defines who we are. When we tell a lie, we make ourselves a liar.

In the Catholic Church our liturgy uses a combination of words and actions; we use all of our senses so that the grace of God may reshape us into the image of Christ, that we may leave the church and put his words into action.

Who will be saved?

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them"