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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Reflection/Homily: Fourteenth (14th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Theme: Our Identity as Missionaries
In today’s gospel reading (Luke 10:1-12.17-20), the evangelist presents us with an interesting narrative of how Jesus appointed and sent out the seventy-two disciples. In Luke’s gospel, this is the second incident where Jesus sent out people as missionaries. We find the first incident in the sending of the Twelve (Luke 9:1-6) which today we may consider to represent the mission of the clergy. The second (sending of the seventy-two) therefore may also be considered to represent the mission of the laity indicating that all Christians are called for and sent on mission.

A missionary is one who is sent on a mission (errand). As Christian missionaries we are sent by God to preach the unchanging Word of God in the changing world of man through words and actions. Our primary mission is to evangelize the world and bring all men to salvation. Today we still find the instructions Christ gave to these seventy-two disciples still relevant for our mission. Like them we are sent in pairs not necessarily in twos but as a community of believers who ought to cooperate with and assist each other in our mission. We are sent like sheep among wolves because as Christians we are supposed to be a sign of contradiction to our morally decaying society.

We are required to go without a purse or bag not to deprive us of our needs but to make us dependent on God. Our purses and bags symbolize those material things we may be tempted to rely on for our sustenance in place of God’s grace. We are also required to proclaim the message of peace to every household because our society has been ravaged by war, anarchy and societal disorder. To crown it all, we are required to heal the sick not just the physically infirm but also those sick and tired of righteousness and those suffering from spiritual kwashiorkor by providing the spiritual supports they need while proclaiming that the kingdom of God is near.

As missionaries sent by God, our field of specialization is our field of mission. Priests and religious have their mission in the Church, Parents have theirs in the family, teachers in the school, doctors in the hospital, engineers in the industry, legal luminaries in the court of justice, etc. One’s field of specialization is one’s field of mission and there one is required to save soul and body according to one’s ability. The first reading (Is. 66:10-14) presents us with the example of Isaiah who was committed to his field of mission as a prophet who spoke the mind of God. He spoke words of peace and comfort to the Israelites assuring them that God has never abandoned them.

Like Isaiah, we are sent to proclaim the message of peace and comfort to our troubled world. Almost every sector of our society is in distress. Peace is not only the absence of anarchy but also the state of tranquility of mind, soul and body. The message of peace is not preached only by words of mouth but more importantly by actions of tolerance, solidarity and dialogue. Our mission as comforters should not only be to speak comforting words to the sick, hungry or oppressed but by enforcing lasting solutions to their grieves. We should not only clean the tears of the oppressed but also fight for their rights. It is not enough to give food to the hungry, instead we should help them achieve food security. We should not only visit the sick but also assist them receive adequate medical attention.

Our mandate as missionaries also includes protecting our mission territories from dangerous invaders. It is bad to see Christians keep quiet when evil is being plotted against their fellow Christians or when they are being endangered. That is why in the second reading (Gal. 6:14-18) we see the example of St. Paul who fought to defend the Christian Faith from the false doctrine brought by the Judaizers who taught that the Mosaic law of circumcision was necessary for salvation. He wrote to defend the Faith and to prevent the Galatians whom he worked for from being indoctrinated in wrong teachings. Therefore, let us ask God for the grace to renew our missionary zeal and live up to our identity as missionaries of Christ in every circumstance we find ourselves. So that through the work we do as missionaries in the Church and the society, our names would be written in heaven through Christ our Lord. God loves you.

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