July 9, 2008
Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
Introductory Prayer: You've done so much for me, Lord. Now I want to take this opportunity to spend time with you and listen to you. I know that you are always near, sustaining me. Let me be attentive to your voice and your inspirations to love those around me.
Petition: Lord, give me the courage to carry out whatever you ask of me.
1. Deputized Jesus chose his disciples and "gave them authority" to carry out his work. Our Lord shows marvelous confidence in mere human beings, choosing them as his collaborators. Christ continues to delegate his authority in a special way through his Church. The Pope and the bishops in communion with him can authentically teach the faith. Likewise, Our Lord calls each of us to help him in his mission. Do I see my life as a mission? As part of Christ's plan for the world?
2. Fail-proof? Christ doesn’t call his followers en masse. Rather, he calls each by name; hence, the Gospel passage goes to the trouble of mentioning the disciples individually. Being called by Christ, however, doesn't guarantee salvation. Reminders of Judas' betrayal of Jesus abound in the Gospels. That gives us pause to be on guard against presumption. We might think, "I go to Mass on Sunday, I'm saved." Or, "I'm not a bad guy, my salvation is assured." Yet, Judas' betrayal shows that anyone can fall. Do I ever think that I'm beyond failing? How does Christ's call to me shape my daily life?
3. Where Charity Begins Jesus' parting command to his apostles will be: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). For now, however, he asks his apostles to focus on those closest to home: their countrymen. Before we can launch out to change the world, it's good to attend to those closest to us: our family and loved ones. God puts us in a particular place, and in a particular family, to help them grow in holiness. This can be a daunting task, since charity demands a special effort in dealing with those we see all the time. Familiarity can breed contempt. If we can love those we live with, loving everyone else will be relatively easy. How do I live charity at home? How could I live it better?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know that family members can be the most trying people. After all, even your own relatives thought you were out of your mind (cf. Mark 3:21). What I need to remember is that other people probably find me difficult to get along with, too. All of us know one another's faults very well. Help me to see and encourage the good points in others. Let me be your apostle of love at home.
Resolution: I will do a special act of kindness for a family member.
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