ANY GIVEN SUNDAY endeavors to bring the richness and beauty of the weekly Sunday readings alive for the young church. Reflections are written by some of the best-known Catholic youth speakers, musicians and comedians in the country. Receive a weekly update by clicking on the Subscribe Free button above. You can download our theme song, Any Given Sunday, written by Chris Padgett by clicking here.

August 30, 2015 – Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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God’s Not Looking for Actors

As a Catholic Speaker and Author one of my favorite audiences to talk to is, well… you, the young church. When it comes to discussing our faith, I feel that if the rest of the world is treating you like an adult in every way they market to you, talk to you and even try to persuade you to change your ideals, than it’s important we also respect you like an adult in the church. My goal is simply to get you to experience a fuller understanding of how deeply you are loved by Jesus Christ so you may encounter Him so often it drowns out the negativity of the world we live in. Despite everything that is going on in the world, we have to know who we are, what we stand for and evaluate the manner which we respond to the temptations of the world.

This week, in all of our readings, we have a very interesting message which relates to so much of what we are seeing around us, along with everything being reported by the media. As young disciples, the choices you are making are very important, but understanding why you are doing what you are doing is even more so. God is challenging us to not live a “double life.” It doesn’t do us any good to have laws, church teaching or even strong youth ministry if we are going to live a discipleship based life only when we are at church or when others are looking.

God knows your heart while He knows all you are capable of being. What He doesn’t want, is for your attention or your motives to move away from what you believe. It’s not always the popular choice to be the one who goes against what everybody else is doing because you know it’s not right. In the same manner, it’s not proper to act righteous (or “holier than thou”) while at the same time have motives in your heart which are impure. This can often lead to the immoral choices of doing what is best for you instead of doing things to glorify God with a pure heart. Lastly, the manner in which you live your life as a follower of Jesus Christ must be without judgement, but rather a joy filled life which inspires people to share your faith because of the living example you are.

My brothers and sisters, we are called to be more. This doesn’t make life easy, however it does make it fulfilling. Let your actions not become the focus as much as the result which your service yields. Don’t think about the canned food you donate as the ultimate sign you are committed, reflect upon the gratitude of the family who will receive a meal because the Lord called and you answered. The less fortunate who were blessed to have you help rebuild their home or the community who prayed for help, and it came in the form of a group from a city they have never been to because you desire to be a reflection of the compassion Christ offered to others. Even in our homes, we must decide to treat others as the image of Christ to give every member the best chance to remain faithful and be a living example of the joy we are called into through the gift of being together. We ultimately become transformed because we live the Gospel not simply hear its words; we journey TOGETHER.

I guess what Jesus is really telling us in today’s Gospel could be summed up as, “God’s not looking for actors to play a part in His church, He is looking for us to be His children. The best defense when the world is asking us to focus on bad things, or even calls out for us to be hypocritical to our Catholic faith, is to surrender to the beauty of our call. Look beyond the moment of what feels good, or might seem “cool” to your friends and give God the glory He deserves by being the difference maker who might just change other’s hearts in the process. From social media, to school, to home and beyond, people want to see how we handle ourselves as Catholic Christians, let’s make sure they know who we are by all the positive examples they witness.

May you be blessed and I pray God meets you everywhere you desire Him always.

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