It might be tempting to believe that "the Gospel" is reducible to something so easily recognizable, so simple, that even the secular entertainment industry could recognize it through gestures of sacrifice and kindness, and their "ring of truth."
The Gospels, after all, do have passages that seem to suggest something like this -- that others should be able to discern the identity of Christians by their love and good works and glorify the Father:
- "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Mt 5:16)
- "By this all men will know what you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn 13:35)
- "The world cannot accept [Christ], because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." (Jn 14:17)
- "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." (Jn 15:19)
Faith is a supernatural gift, and nothing short of God's grace can generate it within the human heart. Therefore, while feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and self-sacrifice are essential elements in the life to which Christians are called by their Lord, these are nothing without the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity. This is why, in the final analysis, prayer is more important than mere activism. Counter-intuitively, it is the most heavenly-minded that are often the most earthly good. Not Vladamir Lenin, but Mother Teresa.
[Hat tip to JM]