Ex 19:2-6; Rom 5:6-11; Mt 9:36-10:8
My very first response when I experienced a call to be a religious priest was a firm, “No way, Lord.”
I responded so for two reasons. Firstly, I did not feel worthy to partake in the holy priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ as an ordained priest. I have done, said, and seen so many things that I believed disqualified me completely from being a minister in the Church. Secondly, I felt utterly incapable of such a vocation. I felt I did not have what it takes to commit myself to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience in a community of men for life.
“I am not worthy…I am not capable.” These are two thoughts that kill our spiritual life and hinder our sense of mission. We must resist and overcome them if we are going to embrace our God-given mission.
To overcome these two lies, we must believe two truths all the time even if we do not feel them.
Firstly, God in Christ makes us worthy. In the words of St. Paul, “Brothers and sisters, Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly…God proved His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” He did not wait for us to become good enough before He died for us. This saving death of Jesus gives us unconditional acceptance and dignity of God’s children, “Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by His life.”(Rom 5:6-11)
In and through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we share in the very worth of the saints too, “In Christ, God has made us worthy to share the lot of the saints in light.”(Col 1:12) We share in the very holiness and fidelity of the saints! Can we think of a greater worth of being reconciled to God as His children and even sharing in the very dignity of the saints? Nothing we have or do can make us worthy of this status that God graciously bestows on us in Christ Jesus.
Secondly, God in Christ makes us capable. St. Matthew tells us that Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for the crowd because “they were troubled and abandoned like sheep without a shepherd.” He chose to act through His disciples i.e. through those who would freely belong to Him and allow Him to provide for them and act through them. Thus, He summoned His disciples and gave them all that they needed to be on mission for His sake, “He gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.” Jesus’ disciples would lack nothing that they truly need as long as they were bent on being on mission for Him. They are not even to demand repayment from those whom they serve, “Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God has created each one of us for a specific purpose in His kingdom. He does not bring us into His kingdom through baptism without calling us to spread this kingdom by loving and serving others in a way that makes His kingdom present and known by others. The mission is not just about doing good things but manifesting the kingdom of God to others by our words and deeds, “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of God is at hand.’”(Mt 9:36-10:8) We must find and embrace this mission if we are going to have strength, hope and joy in this life.
While reflecting on the recent Fathers’ day celebration, it dawned on me how the spread of evil in our church and world today is connected to a crises in fatherhood, both in the family and in the Church. We have bishops who do not call errant priests to order to avoid and prevent scandal to the faithful. There are priests who do not teach the word of God because they are more concerned with status and acceptance by others. We have fathers in the home who are detached from their families and who fail to lead their family in the ways of God. There are fathers who fail to teach the faith by word and action but choose to expose their children to the filth of drag queens and Pride parades.
With this failure in fatherhood, many men are not aware of and embracing their God-given mission in the family and in the Church. They either feel unworthy because of past sins, failures, rejections, or the incessant deceptions of the devil. Alternatively, they feel incapable of giving faithful witness out of fear of suffering rejection or isolation from an aggressively secular culture. They dread making a mistake or experiencing failure.
On the other hand, evil people and organizations know their mission very well and they strive to fulfill them at any cost. Planned Parenthood know their demonic mission and they constantly pursue them with all their resources, even if it entails forcing taxpayers to pay for the slaughter of the unborn. The gender confused men who call themselves Sisters of perpetual indulgence know their mission very well and are bent on perverting the hearts of minds of the vulnerable and mocking the Catholic faith no matter the backlash that may arise. They all know and embrace their evil missions.
What about us who Christ has made worthy of being His own and being on mission for Him? What about those of us who have received from Him all that we need for mission? How long are we going to keep on believing the lie that we are unworthy of serving Him and lacking in anything that we truly need? Because God has “delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son,”(Col 1:13), we have no right to expect hope, joy, or strength from God in this life if we are not striving to fulfill this mission that we have received from uniting ourselves to Him in baptism.
Jesus Christ is always looking at this world with a pitiful heart. He sees the many souls in our world today who live like “sheep without a shepherd.” They are lost, wounded, confused and broken souls in need of the care of the Good Shepherd. Jesus wants to touch and heal them through us in this Eucharist.
Let us unite ourselves to Him more than ever in each Eucharist and experience His love that ennobles us as His children and saints to be.
Let us allow Him to provide for all our needs so that we lack for nothing as we embrace our mission.
Lastly, let us not hinder His action in us by believing the lie that says we are not worthy or we are not capable.
This is the only way that we can faithfully fulfill our mission in this life in this dark and hurting world.
Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!