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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Non-Practicing Christians

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Remember your mercies, O Lord.”Ps. 25

We often hear the term “non-practicing Christians or Catholics” to imply that they don’t attend Mass on Sundays, as if being practicing means only going to church. Unfortunately, many seem to have reduced their experience of faith to just that, and it’s the only way they appear to distinguish themselves from atheists and pagans of this world.

However, this is a great mistake because being a true Christian means following Christ, living His teachings and values, and this will be evident in a life radically different from that of an atheist, through the abundant manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit that result from a 24/7 faith experience: an abundance of love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. The Christian does not live for themselves but is guided by the Spirit to practice charity in its many physical and spiritual forms. They face death with faith and hope, accept the cross of each day with resignation and love, and are uplifting and a blessing to those around them.

Hence, we can say that being a practicing Christian is much more than going to Mass; it is having an abundant life: “From the heart of those who believe in me, rivers of living water will flow,” referring to the fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, being a non-practicing Christian is much worse than simply not attending Mass; it is not living in the light of faith, illuminated by the word of God, guided by Jesus’ teachings, and overflowing with the good fruits of God.

Unfortunately, one can be a non-practicing Christian even if they attend Mass every day. Being a practicing Christian is not just about going to Mass on Sundays; we may know many who do so and yet do not live out what they hear, as if they were completely deaf or did not understand anything. It’s like someone who passes through university classrooms to complete their degree but never studies or revisits what they hear or doesn’t pay attention at all. Obviously, they will not become a true architect, lawyer, or doctor, even though they spent five years in the classrooms.

Many go to church, perhaps in body, but their hearts are far away, and they do not seek the truth or love God as He desires. Therefore, everything falls on deaf ears, and not putting into practice what they hear, Jesus himself tells them that they are building their lives on sand, which will end in complete destruction, no matter how often they say “Lord” daily, at home or in the church.

“…whoever hears me and doesn’t do what / say is like a foolish person who built their house on sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew, and the house collapsed. It was a great disaster!”Matthew 7:24

They are like the son who says, “Yes, I will go to the vineyard,” but does not go. On the other hand, the other son who said “no” but went, thereby doing the will of his Father.

Readings for the Week

Sunday: Ez 18:25-28/Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9, (6a)/Phil 2:1-11 or 2:1-5/Mt 21:28-32
Monday: Zec 8:1-8/Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23/Mt 18:1-5, 10
Tuesday: Zec 8:20-23/Ps 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7/Lk 9:51-56
Wednesday: Neh 2:1-8/Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6/Lk 9:57-62
Thursday: Neh 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12/Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11/Lk 10:1-12
Friday: Bar 1:15-22/Ps 79:1b-2, 3-5, 8, 9/Lk 10:13-16
Saturday: Bar 4:5-12, 27-29/Ps 69:33-35, 36-37/Lk 10:17-24
Next Sunday: Is 5:1-7/Ps 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20 (Isaiah 5:7a)/Phil 4:6-9/Mt 21:33-43

Observances for the Week

Sunday: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Respect Life Sunday
Monday: The Holy Guardian Angels
Wednesday: St. Francis of Assisi
Thursday: Saint Faustina Kowalska, Virgin; Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest
Friday: St. Bruno, Priest; Bl. Marie Rose Durocher, Virgin
Saturday: Our Lady of the Rosary
Next Sunday: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time