Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Discipleship ~ A Journey into God
The Sacred Scriptures of today’s mass are threaded together by the theme of God’s election. Amos speaks of God’s choosing him to prophesy to the people of Israel. St. Paul presents his theological treatise on our spiritual adoption as God’s children. Jesus summons the twelve and instructs them on how they are to conduct themselves on their journey into God. Jesus imparts authority upon his apostles to preach repentance, drive out demons, to anoint and cure the sick. Their ministry takes them on a journey into the heart and mind of God. The first reading and gospel also remind us that there is a cost to discipleship. The message of the one who is set apart to proclaim the kingdom will not always be accepted. The prophets were killed for their message, so too were the disciples. They gave their very lives for the importance of the message of salvation. Jesus tells the twelve to take nothing for the journey and invites them to lead a life of simplicity.
Many have been and continue to be invited on this journey into God. Throughout human history countless men and women have answered God’s call to follow in the footsteps of Christ and his apostles. Priests, religious, and lay people have generously given their lives in promoting the gospel in the developed and the developing world. Many have been imprisoned, tortured and even killed to bring the gospel alive in the midst of poverty and oppression. These people took nothing with them for the journey – just the grace of answering God’s call to give selflessly and offer hope.
The Church is still in need of her prophets, healers, teachers, sanctifiers and preachers. All of us need to promote the vocation to the priesthood and religious life. We must teach our youth that there is not only value to the material world but value to the spiritual world as well. The People of God must encourage its young to discern God’s will and answer His call to shape the Church of tomorrow. There are great challenges associated with discipleship. We have to acknowledge that there are great blessings as well. When individuals answer the call to proclaim the good news to the poor, liberty to captives, freedom to the oppressed and sight to the blind, their lives become expressions of God’s unending grace.
It is important to realize that all of us are also chosen as God’s elect through the grace of our baptism. Each member of the Church is called to follow Christ in activities of everyday life. We are summoned to discern God’s will and respond to his call to love all people unconditionally. We are invited to build the bridge to unending peace and to eliminate poverty through our legislation and sharing our wealth. As Christians, we are called to take nothing for the journey into faith – we are simply asked to rely on the wisdom of God and the gifts that He has given us.
We pray: Heavenly Father, we know that you have invited us to participate in your divine mission here on earth. Fear can often hinder us in responding to your call. Give us the courage to cast away our fears and fill us with the fire of your love. As we journey into faith, may all of us be aware of your constant presence. Let Your wisdom be the guide to everything we do and say. Amen.
How is God calling you to prophesy in the world today?
Do you believe God has specifically chosen you and has a purpose for your life?
What does “grace” mean to you and how does it manifest itself?
What is the ultimate “Truth” of Jesus?
What authority has Jesus granted to the Church?
What authority has been entrusted to you?
How are you being called to serve society?
Name the ways you proclaim the gospel.
Wisdom of the Fathers
“There is no doubt that the effort to proclaim the Gospel to the people of today, who are buoyed up by hope but at the same time often oppressed by fear and distress, is a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity.
For this reason the duty of confirming the brethren – a duty which with the office of being the Successor of Peter we have received from the Lord, and which is for us a “daily preoccupation,” a program of life and action, and a fundamental commitment of our Pontificate – seems to us all the more noble and necessary when it is a matter of encouraging our brethren in their mission as evangelizers, in order that, in this time of uncertainty and confusion, they may accomplish this task with ever increasing love, zeal and joy….(Paragraph 1)
…The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself. She is the community of believers, the community of hope lived and communicated, the community of brotherly love, and she needs to listen unceasingly to what she must believe, to her reasons for hoping, to the new commandment of love. She is the People of God immersed in the world, and often tempted by idols, and she always needs to hear the proclamation of the “mighty works of God” which converted her to the Lord; she always needs to be called together afresh by Him and reunited. In brief, this means that she has a constant need of being evangelized, if she wishes to retain freshness, vigor and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel.” (Paragraph 15)
— EVANGELII NUNTIANDI, Paul VI, 1975
image: Pope Paul VI (Wikimedia Commons)