May 12, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish 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 masterJohn 13: 16-17
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,John 13:20
whoever receives the one I send receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
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.
Thérèse of Lisieux – Story of a Soul
“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.”
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.
Poetry: HERE I WILL STAY – Sister Carol Piette, M.M., also known as Sister Carla, entered Maryknoll Sisters in 1958. She was sent to Chile, where she was a teacher and a pastoral care worker and continued to serve the poor during Chile’s military coup in 1973. In 1980 she was assigned to El Salvador to accompany internal refugees who were fleeing violence. Piette died on August 24, 1980 while crossing a flooded river in an attempt to help a father return to his family. “Here I Will Stay” was published in her biography, Vessel of Clay: The Inspirational Journey of Sister Carla (2010), by Jacqueline Hansen Maggiore. (from https://vocationnetwork.org/en/articles/show/599-word-as-witness-to-the-word)
The Lord has guided me so far
And in His guidance, He has up and dropped me here,
at this time and in this place of history.
To search for and to find Him; Not somewhere else,
And so HERE I WILL STAY,
Until I have found that broken Lord, in all His forms,
And in all His various pieces,
Until I have completely bound-up His wounds and covered His whole Body,
His People, with the rich oil of gladness.
And when that has been done,
He will up and drop me again—
Either into His Promised Kingdom, or into the midst
Of another jigsaw puzzle of
His broken Body, His hurting People.
Music: Here I Am, Lord – St. Louis Jesuits