FACING THE SHIFTING SANDS OF SOCIETY

FACING THE SHIFTING SANDS OF SOCIETY

Fr Luke A Veronis

Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.

 

Our society is drastically changing all around us. These inevitable changes sometimes seem overwhelming and out of our control. They tempt us to become fatalistic, thinking we are doomed and falling into despair. Yet, such temptations of the world are not unique to our day and age. Throughout history, the fallen and dark world we live in threatens the Church and her people. There have always been evil, darkness, and reasons to despair.

In the midst of the challenges the Christians in Corinth faced, the Apostle Paul offered a five-part piece of advice. He offers the same advice to us today. Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Let’s break this down and see how we can find encouragement and comfort in these words.

First of all, we must BE WATCHFUL. We must be attentive and stand on guard. We must be vigilant and aware of what is happening all around us. Take care not to unconsciously give in to the world’s confusion and darkness, as if there is no other way. We have to stand sober and stay awake.

Our society lures us to sleep, enticing us to simply follow its ways without thinking. It’s sort of like being anesthetized. We are given the drug and don’t realize what is happening to us. We don’t feel anything and slowly fall asleep, going along with the ways of the world and allowing others to do whatever they want to us. In contrast to this anesthesia, St. Paul warns us to be watchful and alert, to be aware of all that is happening around us. Be on guard because it doesn’t matter if the vast majority of society follows one path; it doesn’t matter if all the people around us are anesthetized, we are called to stay awake, and to walk the road less traveled. We follow the Way of Jesus Christ, not the ways of the world. Thus, BE WATCHFUL!

This leads us to the second point. STAND FIRM IN YOUR FAITH. The Psalmist proclaims, “The Lord is my rock and foundation.” He is the immoveable force even in the middle of torrential rains and unrelenting storms of the world. He is the One who is, who was and who is to come, the Lord Almighty. The world may change but God does not. History has revealed a legacy of leaders, kings, and various philosophies and worldviews that have taken humankind on a whirlwind of ups and downs. Society may shift and change and entice us with a different worldview, yet only One stands unmoved in the midst of the storm – the solid rock and foundation who is Jesus Christ; He doesn’t move in the shifting sands of society.

Therefore, know our Faith well. Come to truly know Jesus Christ and His Church and what our Lord teaches us about who He is, who we are, and how we are to live. Then STAND FIRM IN YOUR FAITH!

During all these tumultuous times of drastic and confusing change, we are tempted to fear the unknown, to fear the future. How many people ask me whether we are living in the End Times, when the Apocalypse is upon us. Saint Paul has an answer for us. Whatever we face in life, he encourages us to BE COURAGEOUS. No matter who confronts us and how uncertain the world may appear, we find courage in the fact that God is with us.

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End of all time. If the Lord Almighty is with me, who can be against me. We never need to fear anything when we stand with Him. Yes, the world may seem quite uncertain; yes, we may face trial and tribulation; yes, the world may appear daunting, yet always remember, the Lord Jesus is our immoveable and unshakeable rock and foundation. He will have the final word. Thus, BE COURAGEOUS and never allow fear to overwhelm us!

An important part of our courage is that we remain strong. BE STRONG, St. Paul tells us. No matter how weak we may feel, remember “God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.” God’s grace is sufficient for our needs in whatever circumstances we face. Our strength doesn’t depend on us, but on Him. “The Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation,” as the Psalmist proclaims, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The Lord is my stronghold and I discover my strength in Him. Thus, BE STRONG!

Vigilance. Firmness. Courage. Strength. BE WATCHFUL. BE FIRM IN THE FAITH. BE COURAGEOUS. BE STRONG. This is the attitude we hold on to in the face of an uncertain world. This is the spirit that will help us grow in our faith and persevere in the face of whatever society may bring.

Yet, Saint Paul ends with one more word of encouragement. Along with our vigilance, firmness, courage and strength, we must always maintain the spirit of love. LET ALL THAT YOU DO BE DONE IN LOVE.

Our response to a crazy, lost, confused world isn’t to get angry. Our response isn’t to despair. Our response isn’t to imitate the world in its aggressiveness and temperament. We won’t give in to feelings of being lost and out of control. Our response in all circumstances is to do everything in love. Such divine love, of course, comes from our intimate union with God. We respond to all circumstances with agape love.

Our watchfulness is done in love. Our firmness of faith reflects our love. Our courage is a sign of love. And our strength is revealed in our ability to love even those who hate us, to love even  those who are against us, to love even those who are lost in the world’s confusion, to love even those who attack us. LET ALL THAT YOU DO BE DONE IN LOVE.

Be watchful.

Stand firm in your faith.

Be courageous.

Be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.

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