The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

The thoughts expressed here are my personal thoughts and sometimes reflect my political views. As a private citizen I have every right to express these views.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homily: Wednesday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time

Readings: Hos 10:1-3,7-8,12 • Psalm 80 • Mt 10:1-7

I wonder how many of us really know and experience the power of the gospel, the power of God’s kingdom? In the Lord's Prayer we pray that God will reign in our lives and in our world: "Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." When Jesus preached God's kingdom His preaching was accompanied by signs and wonders. That’s the power of God’s word, the power of the kingdom he came to announce. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” – words equally relevant today.

As Christians we all strive to get to heaven, but if we truly know the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, we already possess heaven in our hearts! Do you believe that? Do I believe it? Do we believe in the power of God's kingdom? …the power manifested when Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach God's word and bring his healing power to the sinner, to the weary and oppressed.

Jesus Sends the Twelve to Preach, Heal and Cast Out Demons
Jesus’ choice of the twelve apostles shows us a characteristic feature of God's work: God loves to choose ordinary folks. The apostles were neither rich nor famous. They weren’t professional religious people like the scribes and Pharisees. They were common, ordinary men, who lived ordinary lives. They had no special education or social advantages.

Unworthiness, non-achievement, weakness, obscurity, even potential betrayal – these are the qualities the Lord works with as He shapes those whom He calls. He chose these men, not for who they were, but for what they could become through Him, through the power of the Kingdom.

As we hear their names listed in the Gospel we’re struck by the earthy reality of these men – by the absence of any traits that might remotely set them apart from the common run of humanity. No titles, no connections, no fame…they were eminent nobodies. All we hear are their names, along with a scattering of ordinary details – oh, yes, and Judas’ shameful deed of betrayal.

The list begins with Peter, the repentant traitor, and ends with Judas, the unrepentant traitor. And in between we get just enough to let us know these twelve men actually lived. Yes, they lived in the everyday history of common people, not the history of historians. And beyond that…nothing.

Oh, they were all Jews; but the only other thing the 12 had in common was their call by Jesus. And it’s this calling that communicates power and vision and makes them into new men.

Up until this point in the Gospel it’s been only Jesus who teaches and heals; but now, His apostles will carry out His mission for Him.

It’s from these men that the Catholic Church throughout the world originates. Out of this simplicity, this humble seed, the Church’s roots are formed…its fruit ripened. The arrival of the Kingdom is inseparable from Christ’s establishment of the Church, for the apostles are the nucleus of the infant Church.

Oh, yes, there’s one other thing the 12 have in common: weakness. They’re sinners called from among sinners, broken men from among broken men, made different only by the power of God’s divine call. Jesus chose 12 weak, sinful men to form and lead His Church –12 ordinary men who would do God’s work extraordinarily well. 

When God calls us to serve – and He does call us, each of us, to serve Him by serving His people -- we must never think we have nothing to offer. When God calls us, He takes our meager abilities, He shares His power with us, and He uses us for greatness in his Kingdom, for His glory.

And then we can pray: “Lord, you chose me to be your disciple. Take and use me, in my weakness, in my ordinariness; take what I am, Lord, and mold me into what You want, for the glory of Your name.”



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