Tag Archives: Kingdom of God

Jesus is not an isolated missionary, nor are we

missionary 101.jpg

“Go and make Christ known to all nations.” The missionary spirit is once again coming to the table. As Christians, we are baptized to come into communion with God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to live as adopted children of God faithful to the life of the Church. The sacrament of Baptism makes us disciples of the Lord. We can’t forget, nor can we neglect, to make the Lord known to all people by the witness of our lives. Our call is the same as the Prophet Isaiah’s, “Here am I; send me” (Is 6:8). The preaching of the Lord’s Kingdom is not reserved to few; no, the mission to proclaim the presence of the Kingdom is given to all the baptized in all places. Hence, we work doing the new evangelization. Catholics as missionaries in this country needs renewal. We Catholics can’t leave the missionary work to the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Evangelicals or the Muslims. If we truly believe that the Lord has given us Himself as the way, the truth and the life, then we ought to share this experience. Moreover, in living the Gospel, following the teaching of the Church, the reception of the sacraments, we care for those live on the margins (think of the corporal works of mercy).

I see in Pope Francis calling us to be attentive to the missionary impulse again as fundamental to our faith and life in the Church. The Pope comes as this missionary notion from his own spiritual formation received as a member of the Society of Jesus. No doubt he thinks of the early founders of the Jesuits, and he likely recalls the Jesuit saint Francis Borgia, the third Jesuit Superior General who spent much energy on missionary vocation of the Jesuits, of translating the faith and the Exercises of Loyola into a more concrete expression. We can say that Pope, like Borgia, knows that the missionary work we are called to perform is a ministry that takes on a variety of aspects: preaching, teaching, sanctifying, interceding, healing, guiding others in the spiritual life, administering and governance.

Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus address needs to be studied and prayed about. Think about the points highlighted.

This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 10:1-12.17-20) speaks to us precisely of this: of the fact that Jesus is not an isolated missionary, does not want to fulfill his mission alone, but involves his disciples. Today we see that, in addition to the Twelve Apostles, He calls seventy-two others, and sends them into the villages, two by two, to announce that the Kingdom of God is near. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, He has come to bring to the world the love of God and wants to spread that love with a style of communion and fraternity. For this reason, he forms immediately a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. Iright from the start, He trains them for the mission, to go [on the mission].

Beware, however: the purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together – no, the purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! There is no time to waste in small talk, no need to wait for the consent of all – there is need only of going out and proclaiming. The peace of Christ is to be brought to everyone, and if some do not receive it, then you go on. To the sick is to be brought healing, because God wants to heal man from all evil. How many missionaries do this! They sow life, health, comfort to the peripheries of the world.

These seventy-two disciples, whom Jesus sent ahead of him, who are they? Whom do they represent? If the Twelve are the Apostles, and therefore also represent the Bishops, their successors, these may represent seventy-two other ordained ministers – priests and deacons – but in a wider sense we can think of other ministries in the Church, catechists and lay faithful who engage in parish missions, those who work with the sick, with the various forms of discomfort and alienation, but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with the urgency of the Kingdom that is at hand.

The Gospel says that those seventy-two returned from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of the Name of Christ against evil. Jesus confirms this: to these disciples He gives the strength to defeat the evil one. He adds, though: “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)” We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: the protagonist is the Lord [and] His grace. Our joy is only this: [in] being His disciples, His friends. 

May Our Lady help us to be good servants of the Gospel.

Pope Francis

Sunday Angelus Address

8 July 20013

Pope to the faithful: bear witness to the kingdom of God, to the truth

Conversion advances the Kingdom of God. There is no possibility of entering the Kingdom prepared and promised to us without turning away from sin and truly walking on the path given by the Lord. AND this Kingdom is totally other than what we known and expect. And because of our baptism our vocation is to build the Kingdom according to a plan that is not our own. At the Mass offered by the Pope on the
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, he did so with the six cardinals and their friends and family. The homily follows.

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pan...

Pantocrator, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Solemnity of
Christ, King of the Universe, the crowning of the liturgical year, is enriched
by our reception into the College of Cardinals of six new members whom,
following tradition, I have invited to celebrate the Eucharist with me this
morning. I greet each of them most cordially and I thank Cardinal James Michael
Harvey for the gracious words which he addressed to me in the name of all. I
greet the other Cardinals and Bishops present, as well as the distinguished
civil Authorities, Ambassadors, priests, religious and all the faithful,
especially those coming from the Dioceses entrusted to the pastoral care of the
new Cardinals.

In this final Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church invites
us to celebrate the Lord Jesus as King of the Universe. She calls us to look to
the future, or more properly into the depths, to the ultimate goal of history,
which will be the definitive and eternal kingdom of Christ. He was with the
Father in the beginning, when the world was created, and he will fully manifest
his lordship at the end of time, when he will judge all mankind. Today’s three
readings speak to us of this kingdom
. In the Gospel passage which we have just
heard, drawn from the account of Saint John, Jesus appears in humiliating
circumstances – he stands accused – before the might of Rome. He had been
arrested, insulted, mocked, and now his enemies hope to obtain his condemnation
to death by crucifixion. They had presented him to Pilate as one who sought
political power, as the self-proclaimed King of the Jews. The Roman procurator
conducts his enquiry and asks Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” (Jn
18:33). In reply to this question, Jesus clarifies the nature of his kingship
and his messiahship itself, which is no worldly power but a love which serves.
He states that his kingdom is in no way to be confused with a political reign:
“My kingship is not of this world … is not from the world” (v. 36).

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There’s no cheap grace in following Christ & the Church

The 40 days of Lent is leading to a dramatic climax in our
liturgical imagination: the prayer, fasting, almsgiving is pointing us directly
to what we’ve been promised and hoped for–salvation. These days of Lent offered
us an entrée into the Divine Mystery and yet I fear that a great many people,
including myself–may not have heard Jesus’ prophetic rebuke of the Pharisees
and others for their errors and for their self-righteousness and have missed
the essential purpose of our Lord’s sharp words. Certainly hearing Peter deny
Christ three times indicates that same tendency in us to stand back from that
which is life-giving. In the Scriptures we heard at Mass and in the Divine
Office we hear the Lord not condemning the people for love of God’s Law but
calling them to follow him more closely and in doing so enter more deeply into
the spirit of the Law. Christ makes it clear that living in the Kingdom of God
requires us to be sacrificial: to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.
Here is the certainty we have: to follow Christ entails self-denial and the
acceptance of his cross as ours. No embrace of the cross, no life eternal.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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