Jesus says “By their fruits you will know them”. Our Lord expects our lives to be shaped by our faith in Him. Our daily activities have to put our faith into practice. The small things of daily life do in fact matter because that is where our Lord comes to meet us. We do not simply say we are Catholic and then refuse to live up to the Church’s teachings on moral issues. There cannot be a dichotomy in what we say and what we do. When our faith begins to inform our daily lives, we will begin to grow more aware of the areas in our lives that we need to reform, and by being faithful in little things, we will be given the grace to overcome greater difficulties.
The Shepherds that Jesus is bemoaning are the ones who preach a good message, and then live entirely contrary to that message…people who lead others astray.
The Church proposes two men to us today who are good shepherds.
Saints Thomas More and John Fisher lost their lives because they would not support Henry VIII’s desire to be the head of the Church. God gave them a huge challenge and they accepted, but not without His help. It wasn’t a flash inspiration that gave them the strength to persevere all the way to the grave. No, they were men of deep prayer who allowed that relationship with Christ to permeate every aspect of their lives. Day in and day out they prayed and struggled to put the faith into practice. They lived in times when there was a great persecution against the Church.
Yet when the time approached for execution, it was not humanly easy. Saint Thomas More wrote to his daughter Meg from prison: “I will not mistrust him [Christ], Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear, I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help.”
Saint Thomas More gives us the secret: call upon Christ. Pray and act. Our Lord calls us to be saints, and this happens when we allow what we believe and how we act to begin to come together. A great way to do this is a daily examination of conscience. In this we will see the little areas where we were faithful and the little areas where we fell during the day. Microbes can be a greater danger than wild beasts. Deaths by bear number in the single digits in the past several years. Yet according to one statistic (Time Magazine), about 350,000 people die of food poisoning every year. So the little microbes, and the little faults, are deadly! In our lack of humility, self knowledge, and lack of prayer we allow the microbes to infect our souls. Today look to the lives and ask the intercession of Saints John Fischer and Thomas More to help us make some concrete resolution to not only maintain but to grow in our spiritual lives.