I must apologize in advance to my readers. It’s late and I just got home from a wonderful vacation with my husband and some friends. We had a great time! I am full of gratitude for the many blessings in my life – God has certainly given to me beyond my wants.
However, after reading today’s scripture I wish I had more time to share with you my thoughts regarding the spreading of God’s message and our role in it. After all – we are all called to spread the good news! And I have been blessed on many, many occasions in my life to do that very thing. I could write a book on the topic; however, I will condense here and not bore you with all my stories!
No slave or messenger is greater than his master. How true! And how blessed are we to have as our master the one true God, the God of love and mercy. In our first reading we witness Saint Paul the messenger speaking at a synagogue on the Sabbath after the reading of the law. He spoke boldly. What was his message? Paul reminded the people of God’s faithfulness. Paul reminded them how God gave the ancestors of Israel freedom from Egypt, he gave them land, he gave them prophets, he gave them the great king David and then he gave them the greatest gift of all – our savior Jesus. His kindness knows no limit and his love knows no bounds.
In today’s Gospel we witness Jesus, the greatest gift God gave us, speak of the priority given the master over the messenger. “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.” He was speaking to his disciples as he washed their feet, knowing his time was near. He foretold of the betrayal of Judas so that his disciples would believe that he is the great I AM. He was preparing them so that they could go forth and proclaim his message after his ascension into heaven.
Today, we are blessed. If we are fortunate enough to be a Catholic Christian, then we know who Jesus is. We know he is the great I AM. Now, what are we going to do about it? Yes, it is lovely to bathe in his love, and he wants every one of us to experience those profound quite moments where we are his alone. Those moments we have in Mass, in Chapel, with our Rosary, with our Novenas and with are many quiet prayers. However, in today’s scripture we learn about being his messenger. Our quite moments serve to strengthen our faith, to enrich it and to fortify us so we can go forth and spread the good news. Yes – that means that we evangelize my Catholic friends! Every square inch of this world is mission territory (would love to take credit for that verbiage; however, I saw it on a church exit sign).
As you may know from my previous writings I love being Catholic – it’s the greatest gift my ancestors ever gave me. My faith came down from my Irish heritage, from my mother and her mother before her. I love the smell of a Catholic church, I love the statues of Jesus, Mary and the saints, I love the candles, I love the infinite prayers found inside Catholicism and I love my studies at Saint Meinrad – a Benedictine seminary and school of theology. Yes, I am “all in” and I want to share my deep love of Jesus and Catholicism with others. It’s just too good to keep all to myself!
Now, as a Naturopath I have attended, and will continue to attend, workshops and seminars that have more of a “New Age” flavor. I meet individuals who practice metaphysical spirituality, individuals who love yoga, individuals who speak of “Goddesses”, I have met Hindus, I have met Jews, I have had stimulating conversations with non-Catholic Christians, atheists and Gnostics, I have listened to lovers of Taoism or Buddhism speak of compassion and living in harmony with others. The list goes on and on. I have to admit, I have learned a great deal from many of these individuals and some of the practices they participate in I have utilized as I grow closer to God. With that being said, there are certainly some practices I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole!
When someone shares with me their personal spiritual practices, I choose to listen with love and compassion, always using my Catholic faith as my barometer. The greatest commonality I witness in most of the individuals I meet in these circles is a desire to know and understand who our creator is and how we can experience love. I have found that many non-Catholics ask me some pretty tough questions – not out of hate or anger, rather, out of a desire to better understand God. The deeper I dive into my faith, into scripture and into the richness Catholicism offers the greater messenger I can be for God – wherever he sends me. Hopefully I can answer the questions presented me in such a way that is pleasing to God and deserving of my Catholic faith. I am humbled to be the one to show Jesus to those seeking.
There is nothing particularly special about me. I don’t have the golden mouth of Saint John Chrysostom, nor do I have the perseverance in prayer of Saint Monica. I don’t have the courage of Saint John of Arc and I certainly don’t have the tender heart of Mother Mary. Yet, God uses me with all of my limitations. What I do have, like yourself, is a desire to do the will of God.
God wants us to be his messengers; however, we must first know his message. We must first love enough to show up and care enough to listen. So who are you going to listen to today – really listen to? Who in your midst is seeking to understand the love that only God offers? Many are seeking and we are all called to be messengers offering the truth. May God use you today and everyday to be his messenger.
Jesus – I love you!