Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
May 7, 2020
Today, in Mercy, and for much of this and next week, we travel with Paul on his first missionary journey. Acts 13 and 14 make for some interesting historical reading, revealing how the early Church took form, how leadership emerged, and how various congregations sparked the spread of the Gospel.
These passages also offer at least two important thoughts to enrich our faith and spiritual life:
- They recount a compact synthesis of Salvation History, the story of God’s faithfulness to Israel and, through Jesus Christ, to us. It is a truly marvelous story. Praying with it can make us amazed and grateful that we are now a living part of its continuing grace.
- They clearly establish the Christian life as a missionary life – one meant to receive but also to share the Good News of the Gospel.
In our Gospel, Jesus, by washing the feet of his companions, clearly demonstrates the key characteristic of a true missionary disciple — sacrificial love rendered in humble service.
Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
Jesus commissions his disciples to imitate his love. He promises to be present with them as they minister in his name:
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever receives the one I send receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Jesus wasn’t just talking to a little dinner party gathered long ago. He was talking to us. For our time and place in history, we are the ones commissioned for Love.
Our service of the Gospel may take us on exciting journeys like Paul. Or we may be missionaries of prayer and charity, like Thérèse of Lisieux who, though she never left her cloister, was declared Patroness of the Missions by Pope Pius XI.
“O Jesus, my Love, my Life … I would like to travel over the whole earth to preach Your Name and to plant Your glorious Cross on infidel soil. But O my Beloved, one mission alone would not be sufficient for me. I would want to preach the Gospel on all five continents simultaneously and even to the most remote isles. I would be a missionary, not for a few years only but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages.” (Thérèse of Lisieux – Story of a Soul)
In our prayer today, perhaps we might ask Paul, Barnabas, Thérèse or another of our favorite saints to help us see more clearly our own call to carry the mission in our lives.
Music: Here I Am, Lord – St. Louis Jesuits