Grace to you!
Every now and then we hear testimonies of people who have encountered Christ, those who have witnessed the deep touch of Christ’s grace in their hearts. Their stories have a lot in common - something has radically changed from within.
Many seem not to know exactly what happened. Nonetheless, they start to notice their priorities are gradually changing. Often, they hear their friends say, “Something has changed about you.” “You look so peaceful, what happened?”
How the transformation happens, many do not know. Except for a few who had a dramatic miracle of conversion, for many it started with small spiritual experiences that become big over time.
Though many do not know what has happened, underlying what takes place is a Person who has been introduced in that life, a Person capable of changing everything for God’s glory. That Person is the Christ.
Many wonder – what or who is the kingdom of heaven? When Jesus Christ was teaching the disciples, he used many parables to describe the kingdom of God. In Luke 13:18-21, he said it is like a mustard seed, very small, but when sown grows to a big tree upon which the birds perch. He also says the kingdom is like yeast that a woman mixed with wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.
Using those analogies, Jesus tells us the mysterious way the power of God’s grace produces the effect of salvation in the soul. Why? Because where Christ is, where he is born, in whose heart he resides, transformation and growth are bound to occur. There also is salvation.
About eighteen hundred years ago, a Church Father from Northern Africa, Tertullian, reflected how the little gang of people in Israel who encountered Christ grew to impact lives all over the world. He marveled, “We are but of yesterday and yet we are everywhere” (Apologeticum, 37). Remember, at that time the Church wasn’t even up to two million people.
Consider what has happened since. At least 2.5 billion people profess to be Christians and there are millions all over the world whose lives have been impacted by the message of Christ. These are not people won over by terrorism or political force, but by the sheer grace of God. In cases of martyrdom and persecution, the more they are sidelined, persecuted or martyred, the more the vibrancy of faith surges. Incredible!
Consider also thousands of Christian organizations that are truly light to the world and the salt of the earth. Many of them started off being castigated because they weren’t on the elitist list. Yet, years after, they touch lives more than those who enjoy the publicity of the billboards. They become pillars for generations.
The secret is because of the kingdom, the Kingdom of God, which is Christ. Christ sown in the hearts of people is like the mustard seed and the yeast. Allow Christ in and see how his grace would build the heart, family and the society into a home of God’s Kingdom.
I have never seen anyone who allowed Christ into his or her heart who has not been transformed, each according to the disposition of their soul, some gradually, others in a dramatic way. As for growth, it surely happens.
My prayer is that you and I may live in Christ so as to be Christ to our society. A heart that is a home for Christ is a heart that is a vehicle of God’s kingdom. Then, we can be part of the story of the growth of the Good News of the kingdom to a wounded world.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.