Bishop Noonan reflects on speaking and living the Word of God

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.
Deuteronomy 18:18

 

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Prophet?  Who me?  No way!  Is that how you would characterize your reaction to God’s Word from Deuteronomy, Chapter 18?  Yet, each of us who are baptized is called to be priest, prophet and king. We are called to speak God’s Word to each other.  As we speak God’s Word to each other, we speak with authority, as we are baptized through, with and in Christ. We are called to interpret God’s Word for each other by our every action.

Like those who lived during Moses’ time and through all the ages, speaking and living God’s Word can be a struggle against the power of evil, to shatter the ignorance of those who walk in the darkness of disconnection from God.  Being a prophet means we must put on the mind and heart of Jesus.  Then we are able to speak with authority, to be and do in our time what Jesus did in His.  Our words and our deeds must be one; we cannot speak God’s Word, yet live against God’s Word.

We live in a world where secular words, images, actions bombard us, tempting us to silence God’s voice in our daily living.  Our focus on God through the gift of the Eucharist keeps us spiritually fortified as the Bread of Life is nourishment for our soul.  Taking in, accepting this holy offering gives us the ability to see through the eyes of Christ, to hear God’s voice, to breathe in the Holy Spirit, to taste the fullness of God’s love.

Through the Eucharist, we are Christ’s tangible presence in the world.  Through us, Christ’s mercy is offered to His people.  Through our charitable works, Christ feeds multitudes.  Through our prayer, our devotion to Scripture, Christ heals, teaches and guides more people than we are able to count.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  Now we, the baptized, are the enduring, tangible presence of the Word, of Christ.

Pope Francis speaks about this ministry of presence as he talks about compassion, “compassion means ‘suffer with.’”  Following God’s ways can seem difficult at first, but in the end, those who turn away from sin “shall surely live.”

On January 22, we remembered the 45th anniversary on the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.  We mourn the loss of millions of God’s holy children we have not had the privilege to know and nurture.  We are saddened by the diminution of all life which this outcome has wrought so that we no longer see each other as sacred, of God.

This brings to mind the observation articulated with my brother bishops of the United States Conference in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship that, “All the life issues are interconnected, for erosion of respect for the life of any individual or group in society necessarily diminishes respect for all life” (no. 25).

Prophet?  Who me?  Pope Francis says, “Go, do not be afraid, and serve.” The joy of the Gospel calls us to accompany each other with generosity, help each other to become actively engaged in the Church; and never let any of us feel alone! May our words, our deeds be of the mind and heart of Jesus.  Then as true prophets, may we always praise the Father’s provident love revealed in history and implore Him for His continued help as we strive to live as His sons and daughters in Christ.

By Bishop Noonan – January 24, 2018