July 10, 2008
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his Apostles: "As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words -- go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."
Introductory Prayer: Help me focus my mind and heart on you, Lord, in this prayer. This time I spend with you is some of the most important of the day. It lets me renew my faith and love for you in a conscious way. It kindles my hope for eternity. And it reminds me of the love that you want me to carry to others in your name.
Petition: Deepen my sense of generosity, Lord. Let me not worry about the cost of following you.
1. Priceless The Gospel doesn't carry a dollars-and-cents price tag. Yet it did come at a high price: Christ’s blood. The most valuable gifts go beyond money. The Gospel cost Our Lord pain and humiliation. The spilling of his blood went far beyond anything we deserved. That we received it nevertheless, speaks volumes about God's love for us. Our baptism obliges us to pass on this gift of faith as best we can. This we do without recompense, but with the knowledge that it brings great joy to God. He is happy to see someone convert and embrace his mercy. "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance" (Luke 15:7). How have I tried to share the gift of faith with others? How could I do better?
2. Teamwork Jesus doesn't improvise. He has a plan for how his message is to be spread. Part of that plan calls for cooperation among his disciples. Our Lord, in effect, cautions about "lone wolf" evangelization. And with good reason. Who could believe in a Gospel of love if those preaching it cannot get along among themselves? Building the Church requires teamwork, a willingness to set aside personal plans for the greater good. How willing am I to do that?
3. Raising the Bar Hearing the Gospel message raises Our Lord's expectations for us. He will demand more from those who have heard the Gospel demands for charity. Christians will face a higher standard at Judgment Day. The Gospel by its very nature demands a response from its audience. To have known the Gospel — in Scripture, in the example of a good person — is like turning on a light switch in a dark room. Once the light goes on, we can no longer claim we don't know what is in the room. When the light of Christ shines in our life, we can no longer claim to be in darkness. Hence the demand to live a better life. How does the knowledge of the value of my faith push me to do better?
Conversation with Christ: So often, Lord, I haven't lived up to the demands of the Christian faith. So often I've settled for mediocrity. Help me appreciate the gift of faith, and to share that gift as best I can. Point out the path you want me to walk.
Resolution: I will share something of the faith in a conversation today.
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