Thursday, February 5, 2015

Our Attitude Toward Evangelization

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23.

The epistle this week very much forms the bridge between the first and second readings, so I strongly recommend reading them, and go ahead and read a couple of chapters back on that first reading - just to really get the context. It’s lectionary # 74, if you’re reading from a hard copy source.

So, Job's friends see that he is miserable, and they come to comfort and counsel him about whatever his secret sin might have been, Job said all of the right things. He served the Lord, but he also complained about his burden (if you read on in Job 7 to the end of the chapter).

In the midst of his trials, Job does not serve with a willing heart, so for him, obedience is a heavy burden. Likewise, in this week’s Gospel, Jesus also serves the will of the Father. He works signs, he drives out demons, and then he gets up early enough to sneak out of town so as to ensure that the mission of the Father isn’t impeded by the townspeople’s appetite for signs.

Jesus, like Job, emptied himself to the Father’s will and placed himself at his Father’s disposal, but mark the difference between them in how they carry it out. Job patiently plods ahead, dragging one foot in front of the other, but Jesus is glad to do the work of his Father.

Paul reflects on the character of our obedience in this week’s second reading. By our condition as Christians we are made missionaries, and an obligation has been imposed on us. How do we take up this obligation?

Enthusiastically? (Jesus)

Willingly, but complaining? (Job)

Have to be dragged kicking and screaming? (Jonah) - Yeah, I know we didn’t read Jonah this week, but you know the story, right?

Paul reflects that if we are willing preachers of the gospel, the spread thereof is its own reward, and we do all we can to optimize our lives to further its ends.

We are called to be enthusiastic preachers of the Gospel. Is that what we are doing?

Do we gladly take up every opportunity we get to invite our friends and neighbors to come to knowledge of the truth? Or do we shy away from it? Would we rather send somebody “more qualified”?

Lord, help us to joyfully take up the call to make disciples of all of the nations. Show us where we are missing opportunities to grow your church. Help us to foster in ourselves and in our families a missionary outlook in our lives, so that we might always look for ways to spread the good news to those around us.

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