Bearers of the Gospel
There is an important discourse in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus addresses not to the Twelve, but to another large group of disciples. He is sending this group to work with him in the project of the kingdom of God. Jesus’ words constitute something like a foundational document that should nourish his followers for the task of evangelization. I will highlight some key aspects.
Go on your way
Though we repeatedly forget it, what distinguishes the Church is that Jesus sends her. That is why it is dangerous to think of her as an institution founded to take care of and develop her own religion. Corresponding better to Jesus’ original intent is the image of a prophetic movement that travels through history. This image fits the logic of sending: she goes out of herself; she thinks of others; she serves to the world the Good News of God. The Church is not for herself, but for humanity (Benedict XVI).
That is why what is so dangerous today is the temptation to enclose ourselves in our own interests, our past, our doctrinal acquisitions, our practices and customs. It is even more dangerous if we do so by hardening our relationship with the world. What kind of Church is one that is rigid, paralyzed, closed in on herself, without either Jesus’ prophets or the bearers of the Gospel?
Whatever town you enter … cure the sick in it and say, “God’s kingdom is at hand for you”
This is the great news: God is near us, encouraging us to make life more human. Yet simply affirming the truth is not going to make it attractive and desirable. We have to examine our conduct. What is it that can bring people today to the Gospel? How can they grasp God as something new and good?
Surely, we lack love for the world today and we do not know how to reach the hearts of today’s men and women. Preaching sermons from the altar is not enough. We have to learn to listen more, welcome, heal the lives of those who suffer…. It is only in this way that we will find humble and good words that will make people approach Jesus. His unfathomable kindness puts us in contact with God, the Good Father of all.
Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household”
Spreading peace, we share Jesus’ Good News with complete respect, with friendly and fraternal attitude. It is wrong to try to impose the Good News in the threatening and angry manner of those who deem themselves superior to others. It is against the Gospel not to treat people with love just because they do not accept our message. How will they accept it if they feel that those who come to them in Jesus’ name do not understand them?
July 3, 2016
14 Sunday O.T. (C)
Luke 10, 1-12. 17-20