Jim Wallis, an American commentator on ethics and public life and a spokesperson for faith based initiatives speaks of Faith in Action. At our Joy of the Gospel sessions (sessions 3 and 4 tonight and next week in the Parish Hall) we are learning from each other what Evangelii Gaudium means in practice but reaching people isn’t easy. Jim Wallis says: “Many people today are hungry for spirituality, but have no appetites for religion. Still others, who are part of religious communities, are asking how their faith might be connected to the urgent problems of the world. But spiritual interest may no longer be enough. In today’s world the test of any faith is action”. Quoting St Paul: “There are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit”, Jim Wallis makes the point that people from almost every kind of work are finding ways to shape their vocation in the direction of service and justice. He cites examples of a doctor, a fund raiser, an art director and a policy analyst but actually it can apply to anybody regardless of their vocation and their skills.
Often we underestimate, undervalue and don’t even recognise our skills. David was a shepherd boy who knew only how to protect sheep but using only the skills he had he slew Goliath. We know of so many people who have said they aren’t good at anything because what makes them different and exceptional are things that others recognise but they themselves don’t value. We need to recognise who we are and use our gifts instead of deferring to others’ experience and perspective. Evangelii Gaudium is a hard hitting document from a Pope who doesn’t mince his words. It is about living our lives in such a way that our faith pours out of us. The special gifts that God has given us should be a shining light.