Are You Saved?
I think we have all been approached by a Christian who asked “Are you saved?” This has happened to me even when I was dressed in my clerical garb. The simple answer for all who believe in Jesus is yes. We might even ask the inquirer if he or she is saved. We have been baptized in Christ and have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Being saved has nothing to do with what denomination we belong to or how we worship. It affirms that we are members of the Body of Christ along with 2 billion other Christians.
In today’s reading to the Philippians, St. Paul testifies that his greatest gain in life, his greatest good was to know “Christ Jesus, my Lord.” As we see often in his letters, Paul was very bold in proclaiming Christ to Jew and Gentile alike. I admire people who are zealous about their faith and want to share it with others, even strangers. We must always be ready to plant the seed of faith in someone’s heart. I must admit I am not so forward in speaking to strangers in that manner. I teach and witness more through my sermons in church, and in discussions and private discussions with people who approach me.
Yet there is an urgency to continue to help people find their way back to God, and to evangelize the culture around us. In today’s gospel Jesus had a heartwarming way of describing how precious each individual is in the eyes of God. “There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) Can we rejoice when we hear about a religious conversion of someone we dislike? Can we rejoice when Christians not of our denomination are successful in bringing people to Jesus? Do we pray for religious conversions for the people we hear about in the news who seem so far from God? Prayer is a great tool of evangelization.
Zeal for the kingdom of God should impel us to look for opportunities to lead people to Jesus. Admittedly it is often hardest to witness to family members and coworkers, and these are usually the people who mean most to us. But we should always be ready should the occasion present itself, to share why we believe and live as we do. At times God may ask us to listen to a person’s problems, console someone who is grieving, or give encouragement to a youngster. This is sharing the good news of God’s love in an indirect manner.
Fr. Michael Salvagna, CP