It may have been a bit of a shock to Catholics when, near the end of the Second Vatican Council, the Council Fathers wrote that believers themselves bore some responsibility for the rise of atheism in the world (see Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 19).
Yet, a Gospel reading such as we have this Sunday, which emphasizes the unity and relationship between Christian disciples and their Risen Lord, makes it clear that we can either reveal or conceal who God really is by how we express our faith to others and how we live our lives. Those observing us might either be inspired or scandalized, depending on what we do.
By believing in Jesus Christ and loving one another, we behave in a way worthy of our call to communion with God. These two parts of God’s one “commandment” must be fulfilled in a way that each authenticates the other. Our actions must support our words. This is one case in which it’s definitely not just the thought that counts.
We want our lives to be fruitful and authentic. We want to lead others to God, not drive them away. How fortunate for us, then, that we have Jesus giving us life from within, a divine vine-grower working lovingly to bring the very best out of each one of us, and a Spirit testifying to the abiding divine presence in our midst, if we only ask!
— Christine Mader
Psalm 22:26–27, 28, 30, 31–32
1 John 3:18–24