First Reading: Acts 12:24-13:5a
Gospel: John 12:44-50
Jesus’ ministry was missionary. He travelled the countryside preaching the Kingdom of God: healing people physically; psychologically and spiritually and teaching them a new way of living. The Church which Jesus founded is missionary in it’s vey nature. Before ascending to His Father, He commissioned His disciples to go forth and bring His Good News to the farthest corners of the earth. Shortly; thereafter, this ragged band of His disciples emerged into the open and began boldly proclaiming the Lordship of the Risen Jesus. And this proclamation has continued down to this very day: JESUS IS LORD! BELIEVE AND BE SAVED!
The first disciples took Jesus’ mandate seriously, and in the power of the Holy Spirit they witnessed to Jesus in word and deed. Today’s reading from Acts tells us that “The word of God continued to spread and grow.” New members joined on a daily basis, “Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Mandan who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.” This Saul was to be the great apostle to the gentiles bringing the Word of God to vast areas of the Mediterranean world. These men and women were on fire with a passionate love for Jesus. Their enthusiasm pierced the soul of a pagan world yearning for meaning ... and transformed it. This work of transformation is on-going.
By our Baptism, you and I have become members of the Body of Christ. We have been called into an intimate love relationship with Jesus. We form a community centered in Jesus, and we are nurtured by reception of His Body and Blood. Like the early disciples, we, too, are mandated to reach out to others in word and deed to bring the Good News to an ailing world searching for meaning. Each of us is to be the person of Jesus in our little corner of the world. The Holy Spirit continues to give us the gift of passionate love for Jesus and all the other gifts that we need. We have but to ask. We are to be missionaries. The work continues even in the midst of chaos. The New York Times recently had an extensive article regarding the thousands received into full membership in the Church this past Easter... and it noted into a scandal-ridden Church. The missionary work of the Church goes on even as it acknowledges its sinfulness and struggles with reform.
Brother Andre Mathieu, C.P.