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The Gift of Faith
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words, go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I thank you for this moment of prayer to quiet my soul and listen to your voice. Enlighten my faith, hope, and charity, and help me remember that it is you who gives me the grace of true prayer. Grant me the grace of seeing my Christian faith as a gift, and help me not to take this gift for granted.
- “Without Cost You Are to Give”: Something I have encountered during the New York Street Missions is that people are typically hesitant to take the rosaries that missionaries offer, lest they be duped into buying them. We strive to tell people that the rosaries are a gift from the Church to them. In today’s Gospel, Jesus sent the Apostles out to preach the Good News for free. The Gospel is God’s gift to mankind, made manifest in Jesus Christ. Do I have a sense of appreciation for this gift, or do I take Christ’s message and the Kingdom for granted?
- “No Sack for the Journey”: The Apostles were told to take nothing with them on their first missionary journey. Why would that be? Jesus wanted them to learn what it means to rely on God’s Providence. God doesn’t typically drop out of the sky or write letters to us to tell us what he wants us to do. Nor does he give us extraordinary means to accomplish his will. He prefers to communicate through the people in our lives or our circumstances. How do I see God speaking to me and equipping me for the mission I have been given?
- “The Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand”: This first mission was like a “practice run” for the Great Commission, which we find at the end of the Gospel of Matthew: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). Christ gave them their marching orders and showed them where to go. Similarly, he shows us that our mission starts now, not later. “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” not just when we evangelize at street missions or preach to large groups, but when we gather at the water cooler or go to a baseball game with a couple of friends. Here I am Lord, send me!
Conversing with Christ: Lord, the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. I thank you for granting me a missionary vocation, to proclaim your Kingdom to all the world. I know that I am weak, and that the faith is a precious gift, but I trust in your mercy, that I may be a light for others. Send me, Lord, to those who need your light!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend a moment before I go to bed to write down three things about my faith for which I am thankful.
For Further Reflection: The Gift of Faith by Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer is one of the finest treatises on faith written in the twentieth century, and is worth study and meditation.
Written by Br. Brian Flanagan, LC.