Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 25
May Jesus, Who Has Chosen Both You and Me to Be His Disciples, Take and Use What We Can Offer, However Meager It May Seem, for the Greater Glory of His Most Holy Name.
We read from today’s Gospel, “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.”
I know that I have mentioned this once before, but some of us may have witnessed, at one time or another, people on street corners – especially in the major cities like New York, Philadelphia or Chicago, London or Paris, to name just a few – who stand up bravely and prophetically proclaim, “Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!”
The average person in today’s society might look at them and chuckle to him or herself about how weird they are, but isn’t this exactly what John the Baptist was proclaiming in the dessert? Even our Lord, in today’s Gospel, says to His twelve Apostles, “…proclaim the Kingdom of God…”
Exactly what is this “Kingdom of God” about which our Lord is speaking? It was certainly something which the early Israelites, in our First Reading, lost sight of, and which had caused their Babylonian exile. Theirs became a life filled with empty worship, a life lacking in true justice towards each other and to the God of their fathers.
Even Ezra, in our First Reading, speaks about their loss of faith in the past when we read, “…for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt…”
They had failed to exercise within their hearts a true fear of the Lord – a love, a respect, an obedience to all that God had asked of them. But, in spite of their past failings, God did not abandon them. In spite of the “wicked deeds” which Ezra speaks about, God showed His children that He is a God of unfathomable Love and an unquestioning and limitless Mercy.
“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place…” God brought His children back to the land of their fathers, the land which He had promised to Abraham, the land to which Moses had led them out of servitude in Egypt.
Today, we read that Jesus is sending His Chosen Twelve out into the world – to the lost sheep of Israel – to proclaim a message of hope, a message of love, a message of forgiveness. They had heard our Lord preach the message of the Beatitudes, and they were to take this message to the lost and the hopeless, and to heal the sick, building up the Kingdom within each one they met.
We must remember that these Twelve were themselves members of the lost sheep. They were human beings with their own faults and shortcomings, not unlike ourselves – Peter could be impulsive; Matthew was known as a tax collector; Judas was greedy; Simon was a zealot; John and James were politically ambitious; and Thomas was cautiously skeptical!
And when we look at ourselves, we can find a bit of us in each of the Apostles. But this is God’s way – raising up the lowly – so that, in the newness of faith which has invigorated and lifted up each of our hearts, we, in turn, through our own pilgrimage of faith, spread the Good News to others.
And this is God’s way of building up His Kingdom, one person, one soul at a time, so that each one of us becomes His disciple spreading the Good News – the proclamation that God’s Kingdom is truly at Hand within each of us – filling us with His peace, filling us with joy and guiding us to an ever greater holiness!
Even the teachings of our faith remind us that we are each called to be disciples through the love and mercy we are to live out in our daily lives towards others, imitating the Love and Mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, especially to a world which has become so darkened due to its own blindness and stubborn refusal to embrace the virtues of love, mercy and compassion.
And when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer which Jesus taught us to pray to His and to our Eternal Father, we are asking God to reign in our lives and in the world which we live – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The Kingdom of God already reigns within the hearts of the faithful today, but in an incomplete way. And, as our Catechism and Scripture teach us, the Kingdom of God will only come to its fullness, and in glory, when Christ finally hands it over to His Father, when “every sovereignty and every authority and power” have been placed under His feet.
As followers and disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we need to not only hear His message and make it a part of our daily lives, we also need to live it for others to see, so that we may become a holy example imitating the example set for us by the saints.
For it was Saint Francis of Assisi, himself, who once taught his disciples, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” In other words, live a life which is Christ-like as a holy example for others to follow.
Let us pray that Jesus, who has chosen both you and me to be His disciples, may take and use what we can offer, however meager it may seem, for the greater glory of His Most Holy Name.
For it is through the faith which we live in our hearts, and the love which we show towards others, especially to those who are less fortunate, whereby we become like that itinerant street corner preacher, prophetically proclaiming God’s Kingdom.
For it is not only “at hand”, it is here now within us and also within each person we touch! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “[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.” (Luke 9:1-2)
- “…for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our ancestors even to this day our guilt has been great …” (Ezra 9:6b-7a)
- “And now, only a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place…” (Ezra 9:8a)
- “Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the peoples his deeds! Sing praise to him, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds! …Seek out the LORD and his might; constantly seek his face. Recall the wondrous deeds he has done, his wonders and words of judgment.” (Psalm 105:1-2, 4-5)
- “In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2)
- “After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)
- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
- “Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
- “Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.’” (Luke 17:20-21)
- “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9b-10)
- “[Paul] received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:30b-31)
Prayer for the Day
“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth to those seeking comfort.
“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be charitable towards those who are less fortunate.
“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me. Amen.”Anonymous