Monday, October 17, 2016

GO, PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL."


Homily for Oct. 18th, 2016: Luke 10:1-9

“The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” Was that just long ago and far away? Don’t you believe it! The Lord is still sending disciples to recruit new disciples by showing people the joy of a life centered on Jesus Christ.

One of them, a man now in his second year in seminary whose call to priesthood I have been nourishing, wrote recently about joining an Evangelization Club at his seminary. It started when some of the seminarians returned from visiting a state university on fire from the incredible response they had received from college students who came to know Jesus Christ from conversations with the visiting seminarians.

“We are excited about the work done through the group,” my seminarian friend wrote, “and I've personally felt a certain aliveness in the Holy Spirit for proclaiming Christ.”

 “But of course,” I responded to him in an e-mail. “When we share our faith with others, we deepen our own faith. Teachers experience this all the time. They learn more than their students, because in order to communicate clearly the material they are teaching, teachers must first get a firm and clear grasp on it themselves.”

          “Go, and proclaim the gospel of the Lord,” we often hear at the end of Mass. But how? St. Francis of Assisi answers this question as follows: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Personal example is always more effective than words. If we center our lives on Jesus Christ; if we give thanks daily and even hourly for all the blessings the Lord showers upon us – so many more than we deserve – people will notice that we’re people of joy. They’ll want to know where this joy comes from. That gives us our opening: to tell them it comes from the One who loves us more than we can ever imagine; who is always close to us, even when he stray far from him.

His name, we’ll tell our questioners, is Jesus Christ.