Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday word, 19 Oct 14

Who We Truly Are
29th Sunday of the Year A [World Mission Sunday] (19 Oct 2014)
Is 45. 1, 4-6; Ps 96; 1Th 1. 1-5b; Mt 22. 15-21
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Meaning: we want our lives to enjoy meaning. To say that expresses our desire to enjoy significant and substantial, valuable and valid living. That desire is not new, yet it is ever human. Our Catholic conviction is that Jesus offers us meaning. How do we receive it? When we allow ourselves to “encounter Jesus.” Letting Jesus meet us each moment offers us the meaning we desire and seek. Pope Francis expressed this in his concise way: The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.1 Sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness not only imprison; they dissatisfy and disrupt everyone’s joyful, valuable, valid, significant living.

Pope Francis recalled his words in his message for this weekend’s World Mission Sunday.2 He also recalled that at home and in distant places people allow sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness to dissatisfy them. How? When they let the world run them rather than run the world with the good of all at heart. Consumerism is the glaring, modern symptom of being run by the world. It used to be located in developed nations. Now that travel, trade and commerce are global few are unaffected by consumerism. Again the pope placed an earlier observation in his World Mission Sunday message: “The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.”3 Pope Francis did not accuse; he named results of our glaring, modern symptom: smug, grasping hearts; chasing frivolous pleasures; blunted sense of good and harmful. These also disrupt joyful, valuable, valid, significant meaning.

Why did Pope Francis give the global symptom of consumerism and its results prominent place in his message on mission and missions? To remind that Jesus is the Missionary and the Evangelizer; he offers everyone joy, significance, substance, value and validity each day. Jesus said as much: I came that people may have life and have it abundantly.4 In a word Jesus is power: the power who makes abundant life grow in everyone; he is power who liberates from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness, transforms hearts, frees us to desire true pleasures and choose what helps not harms.

Power is what the first Christians experienced from risen Jesus, his Spirit and the gospel that announced him. The first experience of the power of risen Jesus vibrated with surprise and fear; with the gift of his Spirit resurrection power registered as healings, ecstatic gifts, freedom to speak, to be joyful even in hardship and salvation from ruthless human rule and elemental6 and demonic spirits. We heard St. Paul recall the experience of the power of risen Jesus in his earliest letter to the first church he established: Our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.

Power has come to us, too. The personal encounter with Jesus Pope Francis encourages helps us reconnect and stay connected to risen Jesus and his power for us. Personal encounter with Jesus helps us identify and name his power working in us, for us and through us. Personal encounter with Jesus injects vitality in our public worship, a privileged way we repay to…God what belongs to God. Personal encounter with Jesus deepens our conviction that Jesus offers meaning to all.

That is why each of us in each one’s vocation announces the gospel. Mission in each present moment means we take our turn. The experience of power in risen Jesus and his Spirit were handed on to us. Those who handed on Jesus to us did so with the gospel: hearing it preached and preaching it in return. Not only did the gospel give birth to the church, “the church is missionary by her very nature.”5 Because the church is people each baptized person is a missionary. Christian mission is multilayered. Supporting by prayer and alms efforts to make Jesus known is the layer we quickly connect with evangelizing. Mission also deepens the personal and communal connection with risen Jesus. St. Paul did it by his letters and visits to Christian churches. As we grow in our conviction Jesus lives in us, becoming who we truly are is inevitable: Christian missionaries—Christian in name and in fact; missionaries in deed and word.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause in the company of our triune God creating you each moment.
  • Ask St. Paul and the other Apostles to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: thank him for inviting you to join his mission; tell him how it attracts you and how it challenges you.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to stay connected with him and grace to make him known by your living.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His words, thy kingdom come, are less about the future and more about the present: as Jesus announced, the kingdom of God is at hand for you.7 Jesus commissioned numerous disciples to echo his words as they prepared his way. He speaks them to us to remind us we are his missionaries everywhere we find ourselves.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Pope Francis recalled his words in The Joy of the Gospel.
  2. Message for World Mission Sunday, section 3.
  3. Message for World Mission Sunday, section 4.
  4. John 10.10.
  5. Message for World Mission Sunday, Introduction.
  6. Colossians 2.20.
  7. Luke 10.9.

Wiki-images of disciples baptizing and render to Caesar  PD-US

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