Tuesday, May 22, 2012

“One filled with joy preaches without preaching”

“There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point.
What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone's house.
That says enough.”  - Mother Teresa

(Scripture Text: [298] Acts 20:17-27)
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
"You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace.

"But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God."

I love to read books on the Saints of the Catholic Church. They are filled with remarkable people whose lives epitomized what it meant to live for the greater glory of God. The Saints come from all walks of life, from the rich to the poor, from the very simple to the most brilliant minds. They walked among us 2000 years ago to as recent as 10 years ago. Instead of calling them Saints, we could call them “Heroes of Faith.”

Today’s scripture passage focuses on St Paul and his work as a missionary. Paul is a remarkable Biblical hero. It is hard to imagine how he must have felt as he preached the Gospel, despite knowing that he would probably be executed. Paul didn’t make a decision in a moment to be a hero. For his entire time as a missionary, he knew what could happen. Every day, he chose to be heroic, to make the biggest impact he could.

I often wonder if I could be a hero if the time called for it. Today Paul shows us that being a martyr wasn’t a onetime decision. It was a lifetime of choices. Being a hero of faith is something we all have the opportunity to do, every day. It means living each day with character and dignity and having the greatest impact on the greatest number of people we can.

After all, isn’t that what we are supposed do, to continue Christ’s mission here on earth? As he says in the Gospel,

“And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you." -John 17:11a

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