“Go in peace, glorifying God with the life that you lead.” These are the words our pastor speaks at the end of each Mass. I leave Mass each week thinking about how I can apply them to my daily life. When I stumble during the week as I sometimes do, I tend to think back to these words again, wondering how I can change the situation so that I am once again glorifying God with the life that I lead.
When I exercise, I tend to fall into routines of certain types of exercise. I gravitate towards the exercises that burn the most calories in the least amount of time. With my foot injury this summer, my choices became more limited. Gone was the option to go for a run in the afternoon, and many of my videos were out of the question while I heal. My mom discovered that swimming laps at our city’s pool is free in the mornings during the summer. We made it a point to start going as often as we could.
Swimming had no impact on my foot, and it seemed like it would be an “easy” alternative to running while I healed. Then we started swimming laps and quickly learned that while we may be in shape, the breathing patterns needed to swim differed from what our bodies are accustomed to. With burning lungs and sore shoulders, I realized that ignoring any part of fitness can lead to being out of shape in ways in which I may not even be aware.
Just as different exercises work the body in different ways and yet all are important, so it is in prayer and faith. Going to church each week without thought to how we behave outside the church walls is not enough to be close to Jesus. Neither is living a life full of good works but without faith. One without the other is going to leave us gasping for breath. We need to condition our faith the way we need to condition our bodies. Just one part or the other leaves us lacking and lost, still searching for Jesus.
In Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37), Jesus put mud on a deaf man’s ears and spit on his tongue and said, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” The man’s ears were opened and tongue freed. Similarly, in baptism the priest prays the Ephphatha prayer over each of us, asking God to open our ears to God’s word and our tongues to speak for the Lord. We are not commissioned to walk out the church doors and live for the world. Instead we are asked to bring Christ to everyone we meet during the week by our actions and our words.
We need to live both parts – inside the Church and outside – as disciples of Jesus, bringing His word and love to everyone we meet through our words and actions. We need to, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with the life that you lead.”
Please, Lord, help me to live according to Your will for my life today, body, mind, and spirit. Guide me, dear Lord, to bring Your Word to those I meet. Open my ears and free my tongue to Your Word. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.