Many of the Acts of the Apostles, contained in the New Testament, address the early formation of the Christian Church. These historical writings speak about the many places that were travelled to. Arriving at their destination, after laborious journeys, Paul and the Apostles would talk to the people about the wonders that Christ had performed. They would speak of what they had heard in His talks, or what had been passed on to them. And, most importantly, their lives reflected the values and life of Christ. As a result, the people could see, first hand, what it meant to be a Christian. This was the formation of the Church, as we know it today.

 So, just how has this Church grown, since Apostolic times? There has been no political vote, enforcing its beliefs and religious practices. At no time, have we been subjected to a regal decree that says, we must embrace this religion. Through the tireless efforts of priests and nuns, throughout the world, throughout the ages, the Christian word has been spread. The Chuch has grown by the efforts of men and women, in organized religion and not, living their lives for the sole purpose of bringing the Good News to their fellow man. This is what modern man has received, has inherited.

 But we have squandered our inheritance. Instead of trying to imitate the examples that were given us, we felt comfortable to let “someone else” take up that role. It was almost like we felt that Christianity was to be spread only by the priests and the nuns, by the people willing to try to imitate Christ. We… we could do whatever we wanted. In short, we became complacent.  Well now, that complacency has caught up with us. The supply of priests and nuns has dwindled. So much so, that the church has to circle the wagons and merge our parishes in order to try to protect and administer with what it has. Our response? We complain that our church isn’t the same anymore. We don’t like the fact that we are mingling with another parish. “It’s not like it used to be”.

 Maybe, now it is time for the lay person, to grow up. Maybe it is time for us to recognize that we are to go out “two by two” as in Apostolic times, and preach Christ with our words, with our lives. It is no longer valid to put the responsibility of the growth of the Church in other person’s hands. Are you a Christian?  Do you believe in who Christ is? Do you realize that your Baptism came with ministerial responsibilities? What are you doing with your life? These aren’t just rhetorical questions. They expect a response from you. We cannot just close our eyes and ignore them. This response is critical to you and to the Church. If we ignore this challenge, if we once again pass this off as not pertinent to ourselves, then we really display what kind of Christian we are.

 It is time for us to learn what our beliefs require of us. It is time for us to want to grow in love with Christ. In this love for Christ, we will be compelled to let others know about Him. We will take an active part in our Church. We will try to live our lives in conformity with Christ’s teachings. We will instill in our young the most important values of life. We will take compassion on our fellow man. We will actively try to learn and follow His Will in all things. We will be happy to say, “It’s not like it used to be”.

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