September 24, 2008
Wednesday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 9: 1-6
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them." Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, in this Jubilee Year of St. Paul, I turn to you with renewed zeal for the salvation of souls. I believe in you and your love for me. Teach me to live and spread the Catholic faith ardently. Increase my faith, hope, and love so that I may exclaim with St. Paul, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Petition: Lord Jesus, teach me to act in your name, so that your power and authority may work through me.
1. A Godsend
Notice that Jesus is the one who summons the twelve apostles, Jesus is the one who bestows power and authority upon them, and Jesus is the one who sends them forth. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Thus, whoever receives an apostle of Christ receives a “godsend.” As a Christian, I am powerless in the spiritual order if I go forward “in my own name,” or if I rely solely on my own abilities and strength. If, however, I act in Christ’s name and according to God’s will, then I bear a divine guarantee of fruitfulness. Hence, I must examine how often my plans correspond with what God desires of me, versus what my selfish interests desire. Do I truly live the theological virtues of faith, hope and love – especially in my dealings with others?
2. The Mission
Jesus strips his apostles of any material or technological reliance they might otherwise lean on: "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there." Jesus has sent them on a mission – on a mission for the salvation of souls. Fruitfulness in this endeavor will not result from the material means they employ, but rather from the witness to Christ and his divine message they bear, thereby allowing his power to work through them. St. Paul summarizes this condition in which Christians fulfill their mission: “But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
What interests Christ is the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the healing of the sick: spiritual and corporal works of charity. As I deal with others – when I face their needs and difficulties – is Christ’s charity my principal recourse, or do I substitute the warmth of love with the coldness of things?
3. The Fruitfulness of Fidelity
The Gospel then records the fruitfulness of their fidelity: “Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.” By following Christ’s divine methodology, the apostles brought to souls in need the Gospel’s consolation and the healing of their ills. The apostles’ fidelity required personal sacrifice, owing to the austerity required in bearing witness to Christ instead of themselves. St. Paul recalls this experience of self-oblation, which at the same time bursts with the joy of salvation: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Have I ever made a loving sacrifice for anyone? Have I truly given my heart to Christ?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, take my heart of ice and melt it with your love. Detach me from material things so that I may be free in your Holy Spirit. Teach me to embrace the cross so that I may become your instrument for the salvation of souls. Let others receive the consolation of your love through me.
Resolution: I will perform a spiritual or corporal work of charity today, for love of God and souls.
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