With the beginning of the New Year, many of us set goals and resolutions to become a better version of ourselves. Most goals revolve around getting healthier, stopping a bad habit, losing weight and becoming more active.
These goals are very important and we should strive for these things but they shouldn’t be our only goals. Why not set some goals for ourselves to become better Christians?
Being a Christian encompasses many things. We should all try to make an effort to explore the many important parts of our faith. These include fasting in a way that works for you, praying often and making an effort to partake in the Holy Sacraments of our Church.
A very important part of being Christian came from Christ himself which is found in Matthew 25:31 (The Final Judgement).
The Lord said, "When the Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
What does the Lord tell us in this passage? This is not a parable or something that can be interpreted in different ways. He is telling us that if we do not truly love our neighbor as ourselves, there is no salvation. Feeding the hungry, clothing those who cannot on their own and the like are direct results of our faith. If we have true faith and love for Christ, everything found in this passage should be instilled in each and every one of us and especially in our homes.
Let’s all try and make an effort to better ourselves this year and through Holy Lent which is approaching. Every time we turn on the news, we see evil and darkness. Christ calls us to be beacons of light to others. How can we do this? Easy! Follow the perfect example of Christ and the saints. When you are walking downtown and see a needy person, go and buy them something to eat. When you check your mail and see envelopes from World Vision, War-Amps, Children’s Hospital, etc. do not just throw them away, open them up and in turn your wallet. Support charities and support your Church. People need help and it is our duty, not just as Christians but as human beings to help. We cannot be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on clothes, shoes, purses, gadgets, fancy dinners, cars, etc. and not giving anything to the needy, charities and our church. No one is saying we can’t have nice things, or spoil ourselves but its all about balance. If you are buying presents for your entire family and friends and not making a donation to toy mountain there is a problem. If you go out for lunch and on your way back someone is begging for food and you walk by them as if they don’t exist, there is a problem.
Helping others not only makes us better Christians but by doing so we set examples for our colleagues and friends. Imagine if you are walking somewhere with friends or coworkers and they see you stop and make a difference in someone’s life? They will notice and challenge them do the same for the next person they see! This is just one example of how we can become beacons of light.
Let’s all set this as a goal and become beacons of light!
God Bless you all.
Rev. Fr. Peter Rougas