I know someone who has a huge collection of T-shirts; most are souvenirs from various events: races sponsored by local charities, music festivals, retreats, and volunteer activities. And he moans about people who go around wearing t-shirts representing something he or she has never taken part in, which might be fashionable, but it’s not very authentic.
Our Lord spoke about authenticity at the close of his Sermon on the Mount. He told his listeners that simply ‘wearing the t-shirt’ wasn’t enough; their lives had to change as well. That still holds true today. But if the grace we receive from worshipping at Mass every day and saying our prayers doesn’t change our hearts, then we are building our spiritual lives on sand.
Now, to some people that may sound discouraging. But Our Lord isn’t trying to put us down. Neither does he want us to obey him out of fear. Rather, he wants us to see that following him through the narrow gate and along the rough path is the most uplifting, exciting, and fulfilling way to live. He wants us to build our spiritual house on the solid rock of a life lived in his presence, a life guided by the power of the Holy Spirit, a life in which good triumphs over evil, and mercy triumphs over judgment. It’s the devil who tries to convince us that following Jesus is a burden and a threat to our freedom.
‘Wearing the t-shirt’ of faith is not a burden; it’s a privilege. It’s what gives us a chance to do great things for God. Every day can be a new opportunity to exercise our faith, and to put his grace into motion; which in turn, will lead to a new and fresh experience of Our Lord’s own joy and love.