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Faith of Our Fathers
Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank you for calling me here to this time of prayer. I ask you to inflame my heart once again with a burning faith, hope, and charity. Grant me the grace of gratitude for those who first preached the Gospel to me, and give me the strength to proclaim the Gospel to others.
- The Names of the Twelve: For some, this list of names can seem like a skip-worthy section of the Gospels, or else a fun piece of trivia to be pulled out at the next Bible study. However, for the original audience of the Gospel of Matthew in the first century AD, this passage would have carried some weight. In it, new and old Christians would recognize the names of those who preached the Gospel to them for the first time, giving thanks to God for these men. We can insert the names of our parents, catechism teachers, friends, and parish priests, asking ourselves, “Who was an apostle announcing God’s love to me?”
- He Gave Them Authority: Jesus gave authority to the Apostles, meaning that his own power would go with them wherever they went. The Apostles had to learn to trust in Christ’s power to work through them, and to go forward boldly to preach about the Kingdom. In our baptism and confirmation, Christ gives us the same boldness, the same power to go forth and announce the coming of the Kingdom. For our part, Christ asks for trust, the same as the Apostles. When I face opportunities to evangelize, do I place my trust in Christ?
- The Commission: Jesus has a specific mission in mind for the Apostles on this trip: to go only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” After the Resurrection, Christ would give them a new, expanded mission: “Go out to the whole world.” Still, he had each Apostle in mind for a specific mission. Christ has a specific mission in mind for each of us as well.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I know that you are here with me. Grant me the humble faith that knows that you are with me always, and that it is you who send me out to proclaim the Kingdom. I thank you for all those who have gone before me in the faith, and I beg your grace to keep me faithful to you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take a moment to text or call someone who helped me in my journey of faith.
For Further Reflection: We often sing Faith of Our Fathers in our seminary in Cheshire; the lyrics are worth reflecting on!
Written by Br. Brian Flanagan, LC.