Col 1:1-8; Ps 52:10-11; Lk 4:38-44
The first missionary is the Lord Jesus Christ. From eternity and from the side of the Father, he was sent forth to bring the good news of the Kingdom to all who would receive it. Those who received the mustard seed of faith became like green olive trees planted in the house of God. In this fertile ground they were planted and continued to grow because they trust in the mercy of God. These sturdy witnesses always give thanks and proclaim the goodness of the Name of the Lord before all his faithful ones. We, too, like olive trees bear the fruit of the Lord’s kindness and mercy to us in the house of God. Just like Saint Paul in our first reading we, “always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. We give thanks because the Lord Jesus continued to heal and preach through out the countryside, and the good news of the Kingdom of God has reached our town. In this Eucharist we give thanks for the love we have in the Spirit. Indeed, it is this divine love that changes our hearts and enables us to change our world.
The Apostle Paul and the Bishop Timothy sent grace and peace to the brothers and sisters in Colossae. In their heartfelt greetings Saint Paul revealed the true joy of being a missionary. The heart of a missionary servant rejoices only when the word of truth, the Gospel, bears fruit and grows among the people. Every Catholic has this kind of heart. It is not possible to be a believer and not be a missionary. Every one we live with and each person we meet throughout the day is our missionary field. Sooner or later everyone needs to hear the Gospel. We all need to hear the good news of the Father’s unconditional love revealed in the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. When we live this kind of apostolic lifestyle we become profound intercessors for all among whom we have proclaimed the good news. Like Saint Paul we pray for those who have heard about his Kingdom through our witness. We pray that they may bear fruit and grow in virtue day in and day out. In this way we become fellow slaves with Saint Paul; willingly do we seek to do the Lord’s will and not our own. Giving up our freedom, we truly live in the freedom of the Gospel. We become trustworthy ministers of God’s truth and grow in the Holy Spirit’s love.
The Lord Jesus, our model in mission, has great success in healing Simon’s mother-in-law and the great crowds who came to him at the end of the day. After his great rejection in the synagogue, the Lord Jesus worked great wonders among the people, and they did not want him to leave their town. After a night spent in the Holy Spirit and before the face of the Father, the Lord Jesus knew what his next move had to be. To their urging to stay put the Lord responded, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent”. The Lord Jesus did not hesitate to do the Father’s will and by the Holy Spirit he knew what Abba wanted him to do. We, too, must not only pray for those to whom we witness; we must also pray for the wisdom to move on when it is time. To go beyond our comfort zone, to expand our boundaries to love and serve total strangers, this is our mission. The Bread from Heaven at this Mass provides the comfort and courage we need to obey God’s will revealed to us in prayer, even if it doesn’t last for a whole night.