“I said: ‘My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches out to heaven… 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; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude” (Ezra 9: 6,8).
“Blessed be the God who loves forever. He scourges, then has mercy” (Tobit 13: 1).
These readings from today’s liturgy encapsulate our life stories. We are born into the love of God; we turn away; we are forgiven and welcomed home!
Luke’s Gospel describes how Jesus sent his Apostles into the world to proclaim the reign of God and heal the afflicted. He gave them power and authority to overcome all demons, to forgive sins and to cure disease. Their mission was clear: go into the world and do exactly those things they had seen Jesus do. Jesus also instructed them to take nothing for their journey, instead to rely on the kindness and generosity of those people who would receive them into their homes.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to that same mission: to proclaim God’s love to all we meet. No, we may not have the power to heal illnesses, but each of us has the power to listen to another’s pain, to offer empathy to someone who’s struggling, to do myriad acts of kindness that make our world a better and happier place to live.
Mother Teresa said: “God is thirsting for you and me to come forward to satiate his thirst.” The Apostles brought the cooling water of Jesus’ love to every town and village they visited. We are to continue that work every day, slaking Jesus’ thirst in the lives and faces of the wounded in the world.
As I write this, it is September 21, the International Day of Peace. The peaceoneday.org website invites us to think about peacemaking every day. “No matter how small, everyday acts of kindness can help make peace a reality.” With so much vitriol and rancor swirling about us constantly, offering one another a soothing drop of God’s love in the form of a smile or a kind word may be the best way to further our mission of bringing Jesus’ message to the world around us. Think about that as you pray for peace, not just on September 21st, but on every day of our lives. May the Passion of Jesus be ever in our hearts.