The Catholic Defender: The Great Commission Vs "Lip-Service"
Moses once said, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen. This is exactly what you requested of the Lord, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die” (Deuteronomy 18:15-16).
A prophet like Moses has come, one who is much greater. St. John writes, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
As important it is that the Father sent his only begotten Son into the world, it is important to understand that the Son so loved the world that he sent his Church into the world. The connection here cannot be missed especially through the covenant the Lord has made with his people. Jesus literally is identified in the Old Testament many times showing He is truly the Messiah. No other historical figure can come close.
Jesus said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus instructs his Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so for nine days they awaited until Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon them in tongues of fire and they spoke to the world through tongues and languages.
From this point forward, the Catholic Faith went out from behind locked bolted doors and took the gospel to the nations. This event took place 1986 years ago today. Jesus was crucified April 3, 33 A.D., raised on April 5, 33 A.D., the morning of the Third Day. 40 days later, Jesus Ascended into Heaven, then 10 days later Pentecost!
The Holy Spirit continues to speak the voice of the Lord and keep the Church in step to the Lord’s will (John 16:13, John 14:26).
I was once asked by a Non-Catholic why the Holy Spirit could not move in a Protestant setting.
I answered him this way, “The Lord sent the Church into the world to baptize the nations and to teach them the gospel. Even the Baptism that most Non-Catholics use comes from the Catholic Faith. These people are being baptized into the Church. However, because their understandings have deviated through rebellion, their teachings are not truth. A person can receive the Holy Spirit yet because of their bended minds, do not understand or know the voice of the Lord”.
His response was, “St. Paul said, “And no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit”. He asked me what this meant, so I responded this way:
Isaiah 29:13 states, “The Lord said: ‘Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, And their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men, Therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion”.
Jesus recalls this warning, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts” (Mark 7:6-7).
Through the power of the Spirit, when we say Jesus is Lord, we must bend the knee! Jesus must be Lord of our lives, not just in principle, but in fact. As a Non-Catholic, can you truly call Jesus Lord when you deny the Church he established? Can you call Jesus Lord when you reject the Church’s teaching on Artificial Birth Control? Is the Lord sovereign? It’s easy to give “lip service” but it is totally something else to put this in practice.
St. Paul says, “For the grace of God has appeared,saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. Say these things. Exhort and correct with all authority. Let no one look down on you” (Titus 2:11-15).
We cannot call “Jesus is Lord” by the power of the Holy Spirit while at the same time still living these worldly desires. The anointing of saying “Jesus is Lord” comes from God. If it doesn’t come from God it is still “lip service”. After about three months of discussion, my non-Catholic friend was received into the Catholic Faith.
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, enlighten our minds to perceive the mysteries of the universe in relation to eternity. Spirit of right judgment and courage, guide us and make us firm in our baptismal decision to follow Jesus' way of love. Spirit of knowledge and reverence, help us to see the lasting value of justice and mercy in our everyday dealings with one another. May we respect life as we work to solve problems of family and nation, economy and ecology. Spirit of God, spark our faith, hope and love into new action each day. Fill our lives with wonder and awe in your presence which penetrates all creation. Amen.