Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?

“If in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be 'devout' and to perform my 'religious duties', then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely 'proper', but loveless.” ― Pope Benedict XVI, God Is Love--Deus Caritas Est: Encyclical Letter

Gospel Text: (MT 10:1-7)
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

Have you ever dreamed of going to some faraway, exotic place? To travel the world and tell people about the Lord, while setting up hospitals and schools for those in need. But we all know how the reality of daily life keeps us anchored in one place. So much for missionary zeal…….?

Today’s Gospel reminds us, however, that missionary work does not begin with people halfway around the world. It starts with our next-door neighbors. We see Jesus telling his disciples to go to the people who look and act like them, people who speak the same language and share the same customs. Who knows? The disciples might have been on a first-name basis with some of them!

This is how God wants to work with us as well. He is calling us to go to the “lost sheep” in our neighborhoods. This does not lessen the call, and it by no means narrows your field of work. There are plenty of people in your own town who need friendship and comfort. Many have lost hope or been crushed by misfortune or economic hardship. Think of the young people struggling to find their way in life or the elderly widower whose loss of his wife has left him isolated and bitter. So many people! So much need!

You don’t have to learn another language or travel very far. You know many of the obstacles that these people are facing, since you probably face some of them yourself.

Jesus tells each of us, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). How is he calling you?

No comments:

Post a Comment