Today’s readings pack quite a punch for those who would be disciples. St. Paul celebrates that we have received grace (God’s spirit), and should be appropriately joyful! But we can’t sit back and relax. We must proclaim the Good News among all “the Gentiles” in order to bring about “the obedience of faith” (Rm 1:5). The psalm echoes the juxtaposition of God’s special relationship with the beloved house of Israel and all the earth making a joyful noise to the Lord.
The Gospel ties it all together; Jesus rebukes his hearers (Israelites, including Pharisees) by citing the conversion of the Gentiles in Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, at the proclamation of the prophet Jonah, and likewise, the Queen of Sheba’s (thought to be present-day Ethiopia) recognition of wisdom, of truth, through King Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10). Later on in his letter to the Romans, St. Paul will refer to the “law written on the hearts” of Gentiles (Rm 2:15). These passages point not only to the human ability to recognize truth when one hears it, but a deep thirsting and extensive quest for such truth and a desire for faithfulness to the true God by those of other religious traditions (or none). How much more, then, are we called to repentance and conversion of heart, as professed Christians? And as we are reminded by St. Paul, we have received grace, God’s spirit, to strengthen and empower us to proclaim Good News to all. That might mean witnessing with words or with actions, or with a servant’s heart and a loving attitude, to non-Christians, or to professed Christians for whom their experience doesn’t match the proclamation of the Good News. God is calling us to be ambassadors, witnessing with joy to Christ.
How tuned in am I to God speaking in my heart? To what is God calling me today?
- Moira Reilly (PVI-Jamaica ’06-’07) is a caretaker at Bethlehem Farm, a Catholic community in Appalachia that seeks to transform lives through service with the local community and the teaching of sustainable practices. We invite volunteers to join us in living out the Gospel cornerstones of prayer, community, simplicity, and service. www.bethlehemfarm.net