Do I live out my faith in service to others?
On this Monday of Holy Week, we follow Jesus after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem that we celebrated on Palm Sunday. Today, Jesus, along with his disciples, entered the Temple. Seeing the money changers in the Temple, Jesus overturned their tables and cleared the Temple. As related in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus stated “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46). Part of the symbolism of Jesus’ actions that day demonstrates to us that faith is much more than outward religiosity that was taking place in the Temple; faith must bear spiritual fruit in the life, heart, and soul of each believer and be shared with others.
As I reflect on the question of how my faith bears spiritual fruit, I focus on how I live out my faith in service to others. I recall a time when I coordinated service projects for the high students preparing for confirmation at my parish. Several of the students had gone above and beyond with their projects, but others were struggling to finish the necessary hours before confirmation. To make sure that those struggling students could complete their service hours, I organized a day of service at a local shelter that needed assistance with breakfast, lunch, and other activities for the residents. For the students that had completed their service hour commitment, the other adult volunteers took those students to the beach for a clean-up event and then for time to relax at the beach. It was a stressful day at the shelter as there were more needs than our students could possibly fill, but I was there to work with them and encourage and support their efforts. At a low point in the day when the needs at the shelter overwhelmed our group, the other high school students and adult leaders miraculously showed up to help. Even though they had the opportunity to relax and enjoy time together at the beach, they all wanted to come to the shelter to help out.
It was truly a beautiful Holy Moment. Along with the other adult leaders of the group, I had been working with the students to help deepen their understanding of the faith, including the commitment of service to others. We were modeling for the students what it looks like to put faith in action, and the students took in that lesson and then expressed their faith in helping out not just at the shelter, but also their fellow students. It was a moment full of grace, when my faith, which was bearing fruit in my life through service to others, helped lead those students to a deeper understanding of their faith, which then expressed itself in bearing fruit in the lives of many other people that day. We may never know the ripple effects of how our faith and the spiritual fruits resulting from that faith impact others. It is up to us to simply live out our faith every day and for us to share with the world the spiritual fruits that our faith bears – God will take care of the rest.
Is my faith a real, living faith that bears spiritual fruit in my life and the lives of those around me?
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of faith and the opportunity to serve others. As we move closer to Holy Thursday, and the great commission that You gave at the Last Supper, please increase my faith and my commitment to serve others in Your name. Authentically Yours.