September 10, 2013
We are empowered to witness? How are we empowered? What do we witness to? We are empowered by Christ, and we witness to Christ. These are all great mysteries, the very work of God in us. It is all about Jesus.
It started when we accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, and started to live his life in us. “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him” (Col 2:6). We met Christ, we are starting to live Christ, and we are tasked to share Christ. To be empowered, we must be “rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Col 2:7). Jesus is the foundation, the only source, the cornerstone, the vine apart from whom we can do nothing, the rock upon which our whole life is built.
We are empowered as we shun the world, as we let go of our human desires and earthly ideas, as we disdain the pleasures the fallen world offers, as we recognize our own feeble minds. “See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8). The lure of the world is powerful and seductive, and can easily captivate, even those who have already chosen to follow Jesus. We must live only Christ.
How wonderful and mysterious is such life in Christ? How profound is our association with Jesus?
First, “he brought you to life along with him” (Col 2:13b). This is when “you were dead in transgressions” (Col 2:13a). Jesus brought us from death to life!
Second, “you were buried with him in baptism” (Col 2:12a). Jesus humbly accepted baptism from John, and now gives us the gift of baptism, by which we become Christians.
Third, “in him you were also circumcised .... with the circumcision of Christ.” (Col 2:11). Jesus was circumcised when presented at the temple, to be part of God’s people Israel. We too are circumcised, and integrated into the new Israel, the very body of Jesus on earth. We are the people of God!
Fourth, “in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him” (Col 2:9-10a). Jesus is the Son of God who became man. We too are the children of God. We are to reflect the very image and likeness of God in which we were created. We are called to be other Christs. We are to be holy as God is holy. We are to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.
Now when we allow all the above to happen to us (and that is what Jesus wants to happen to us), then we will be empowered to witness. When we proclaim the gospel and people come to faith in Jesus, then we will be “despoiling the principalities and the powers” (Col 2:15a). Remember, Jesus “is the head of every principality and power” (Col 2:10b), that is, all in the heavens and on earth are subject to his power and authority. And we are his body! Jesus empowers us to come against the kingdom of darkness, to make “a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it.” (Col 2:15b).
We are empowered to witness to Jesus. And we want to work such that many others accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, and become his witnesses. One who meets and lives Christ must also share Christ.
Who and what is this Lord whom we meet? “Great is the Lord and worthy of much praise, whose grandeur is beyond understanding.” (Ps 145:3). Awesome is the Lord God Almighty! We must tell the world of such a God. All the generations must do so. And so we witness. We proclaim. We evangelize. We look forward to the time when Catholic lay evangelization is mainstreamed, as “one generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works.” (Ps 145:4).
We are witnesses. What does it mean to “witness”? Aside from living Christ, it is sharing Christ. “They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds. They speakof the power of your awesome acts and recount your great deeds. They celebrate your abounding goodness and joyfully sing of your justice. They speak of the glory of your reign and tell of your mighty works.” (Ps 145:5-7).
We have been empowered to witness. Let us tell the world of God’s mighty works, and let us also do some of those works ourselves.
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