Saturday, July 11, 2015

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: "It's not personal."

When Jesus sends out the disciples in today’s Gospel he gives them instructions down to the last detail, even as to what they are to wear. And it’s very little. No luggage allowed. 

"Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits. 
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money ... "

But He isn’t sending them to represent themselves. They are now to bring the Lord to others through the graces of truth in teaching and the salvation of the sacraments. He is sending them to represent Him and to bring Him to the world.

Some people worry today that this work of evangelization is not resulting in sufficient numbers. They worry about a shrinking Church and emptying pews as, one by one, all that the Church teaches seems to be contradicted by a world gone mad, cut totally loose from God.

Between Scylla and charybdis, a rock and a hard place. The Church today is besieged on all sides. Some want the Church to change moral teachings to suit the times, such as redefining marriage. Others want a Church worship shorn of any vestige of the past in rejection of anything that happened before the 1960’s in a sort of new beginning.

They say we must change these things if we want people to stay in the Church or come back to Sunday Mass.

Jesus sends them out, and us, with one more thing: his authority. And just as those who reject Him by refusing the faith and morals of the Church will face judgment, so shall we if we do not preach with the authority by which Christ is also present in the world today.

Jesus says, “shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” Hopefully we won’t be doing this anytime time soon. But, all the same, to whomever we are sent, wherever we go, however they react, we will be more effective in preaching the Gospel and more joyful in the Lord if we remember that “it’s not personal”.
If we are faithfully bringing Christ to others as He sent us to do and we are rejected as a result, it's not personal.

The church is faithful to her mission as the body of Christ, to bring his truth and his grace and his salvation to others. Judgment is not upon us if our message is not received. Judgment is Christ's and upon those who reject Christ.

It's all about Jesus Christ.

So, why do we take the risk? The love of Christ is also for our own sakes and it is a love which obeys Him in receiving the gift and mission.

And this is the key verse: "He gave them authority."

The authority that He gave to his Church to teach the world matters of faith and morals is a tremendous gift of God's love but also a tremendous responsibility for which we will answer to God if we shirk it.

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