Thursday, October 4, 2012

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations . . . can never effect a reform.”

The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading interior emptiness, unnamed fears, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate search for meaning - the ultimate meaning that only love can give. – Pope Benedict XVI

(Gospel Text: LK 10:1-12)

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
'The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.'
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day
than for that town."

“How faithful are we?”  “How effectively do we make Christ personal to others?” “How well do we seek God as we live our normal, day-to-day lives?”

Jesus does not try to sell us but rather to "grace" us. He warned us we'll be like "lambs in the midst of wolves" (Lk 10:3). He promised to send us out without walking staff, traveling bag, or sandals (Lk 10:4). Jesus doesn't try to make discipleship easier. In fact, He seems to intentionally make it harder. True discipleship is impossible without His grace, which is always sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).

When we see a scarcity of priests, sisters, brothers, lay ministers, or parishioners, the answer to the problem is not to compromise and call for less commitment. Instead, the solution is to proclaim the radical nature of the gospel and pray more intensely for workers to obey God's call. The Catholic Church desperately needs this renewal, most particularly in the west.

The Church needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity.

On the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of this blog, I will conclude with the words he heard clearly from God in the Chapel of San Damiano 

"Francis, Go and rebuild my Church, which you can see has fallen into ruin."

Francis believed initially that the call was to a literal, physical rebuilding of the Church...only later did he realize the call was to a spiritual rebuilding.

Go and do the same!

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