June 28, 2020

Deacon Jim Homily
Living Out Our Mission

Living Out Our Mission

The Gospel of Matthew includes five discourses.  Last Sunday and today we hear from chapter ten, which includes the discourse on mission.

“The tone of the whole chapter is decidedly missionary.  One has the distinct impression that the Lord (and St. Matthew) wants to put this group in motion, as if releasing it from a position of immobility.  This is a group without any other ties, completely dedicated to the task received.  There is the need ‘to go’ to break through resistances and extend the mission of Jesus – with uncalculated courage and complete confidence in the one primarily interested in the successful outcome of the ‘mission’.

It is a program permeated with the spirit of the Gospel, a style that closely follows that of Jesus, a horizon that goes beyond the historical activity of the Twelve and outlines the missionary statute for the disciple of every age.”  Matthew, The Journey Toward Hope by Elena Bosetti

 

“Who or what takes first place in your life - in your daily thoughts, cares, and concerns?  God has put us first in his thought, care, and concern for our well-being and future.  God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding kindness and mercy towards us.  Even while we were hopelessly adrift through our own sinful pride, rebellion and unbelief, he chose to give us his own beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for our sake - to set us free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death.

Proof of God's unfailing love for us:

There is no greater proof of God's love for us than the free-will offering of his Son who shed his blood for us on the cross.  His death broke the curse of guilt and condemnation, and won for us pardon and adoption as beloved sons and daughters of God our Father.  Through the victory of his cross and resurrection, the Lord Jesus offers us abundant new life through the gift and power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

The love of God comes first:

The Holy Spirit reveals to us the love of the eternal Father and the eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who come to make their home with us and to unite us in a bond of peace and friendship.  That is why the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to give him their undivided loyalty and love above all else.  We owe him a debt of gratitude for what he has done for us.  The Lord Jesus gave us the assurance and promise that he will raise up our mortal bodies to be like his so that we may fully share in his resurrection for all eternity.

God has no equal - that is why we owe the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our undivided loyalty, trust, and obedience.  Jesus challenges his disciples to examine who they love first and foremost.  A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for the Lord Jesus - who calls us to follow him.  Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or kin.  It is possible that family and friends can become our enemies, if the thought of them keeps us from doing what we know God wants us to do.

God's compelling love knows no rival:

The love of God compels us to choose who or what will be first in our lives.  To place any relationship or anything else above God is a form of idolatry.  We can allow many different things to take control of our lives and possess us - such as greed and lust for power, possessions, and wealth.  But only God's love can set us free to love as he loves - with mercy, kindness, goodness, patience, perseverance, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  The first and great commandment is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37).  If we pursue the love of God and put his kingdom first in our lives, then he will give us everything we need to sustain us now and in the future as well.  Who is the Lord and Master of your life?

True love overflows in kindness and mercy towards others:

True love for God compels us to express charity (merciful deeds of kindness and goodness) towards our neighbors who are also loved by God because he created each of them in his image and likeness.  Mother Theresa of Calcutta once told a marvelous story about a destitute family who had nothing to eat for days.  When news of their impoverished condition came to the Missionary Sisters of Charity, Mother Theresa personally went to their home and brought them some food supplies.  The mother of the family immediately divided the food in half and carried it off.  When she returned, Mother Theresa asked her, “Where did you go?”  She gave the simple answer, “To my neighbors, they are hungry also!”  Mother Theresa said, “I was not surprised that she gave - poor people are really very generous.  I was surprised that she knew they were hungry.  As a rule, when we are suffering, we are so focused on ourselves, we have no time for others.”

Jesus declared that any kindness shown and any help given to the people of Christ will not lose its reward (Matthew 10:42).  Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for his help.  As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he is.  Jesus sets before us the one goal in life that is worth any sacrifice and that goal is union with God - uniting our heart, mind, and will with his heart and will for our lives.  The reward of a life given over to God and obeying his voice is God himself - the source of true peace and joy that lasts forever.  Does the love of Jesus Christ compel you to put God first in all you do (2 Corinthians 5:14)?”  Laudate Reflection 6/28/2020

 

“The practice of hospitality is affirmed throughout Scripture.  In today’s first reading, extraordinary blessing is promised for the hospitality extended to Elisha.  Jesus’ words in the Gospel continue this theme, promising eternal reward to those who extend even the smallest act of hospitality to even the least ones.  Through hospitality, we express our baptismal call and put faith into action.  Our practice of hospitality should not to be limited to strangers and guests but should also be extended to family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  Take care to extend hospitality and a helping hand to those you encounter each day.”  At Home with the Word

 

We were created for mission – to carry on the work of the twelve apostles and the message of Jesus Christ.  With all the unrest and illness in our world it’s easy to say – what can I do to make things better?  But there are many opportunities for us to get involved and make a difference – one day at a time.  Our efforts don’t have be grand.  A simple act of mercy or hospitality towards someone can make all the difference in that person’s life.  One person at a time we can create a wave of love and mercy, that will truly bring the Love of God through Jesus Christ to those in most need.

What is your mission?  What are you going to do for those around you that are in need of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit in their life?  What will you be remembered for when your time on earth is complete?

 

“Lord, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has conceived the things you have prepared for those who love you.  Set us ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may love you in and above all things and so receive the rewards you have promised us through Christ our Lord.” (from A Christian’s Prayer Book)

 

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