Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Gospel Is for the Whole World

Last week I referred to the term “anonymous Christian.”  It was coined by Rev. Karl Rahner a few decades ago.  It means that there are people in the world who are not baptized Christians but, nevertheless, live as Christians should.  This does not mean that we should believe that our Lord’s command to make disciples of everyone  (Matthew 2:18-20) is fulfilled.  Christ said that we must believe in Him in order to have eternal life.  Also, He said that unless we eat his Flesh and drink his Blood, Holy Communion, we have no life within us (John 6:53).  Why would He say this?  He came into the world to conquer sin and death.  Our Lord did this by his death on the Cross.  He took upon Himself the guilt of us all so that evil would have no hold over us.  We need Him to defeat evil.  Essentially, accepting Christ within us and cooperating with Him enables us to overcome sin and wickedness not only in ourselves but also in the world.  It’s not a matter of just acting like a Christian; it’s a matter of being Christ.  St. Paul said that Christ is in us (Col. 1:27).

We are incorporated into Him by virtue of our Baptism.  We have Him fully within us through Holy Communion.  We must receive Him worthily.  Moreover, we must believe and accept his teaching – accept Him completely.  Then, we are well armored and fortified to deal with any adversity.  Without this we are at a great disadvantage.  Our nature is weak.  Our own sins cause greater weaknesses.  Also, there is less understanding of good, wholesome things.  It becomes much easier to live immorally and harder and harder to escape this kind of life.  One is susceptible to despair of even the possibility of escaping this dark life.
But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature",(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention… (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 16)
So, Jesus, in his love for us, asks that we receive Him, that we let Him work in us.  Our hands become His hands; our tongues become His as well.  By this we will be saved and cooperate in his work of saving others.

Father Stanley

King's College Choir, Cambridge - "Abide with Me"

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