Thursday, April 14, 2016

Meet, Learn, Proclaim

Meet, Learn, Proclaim
FRIDAY, Easter week three: April 15, 2016

The Response (Mark 16:15; used with Psalm 117) is a mandate to all Christians consecrated at Baptism to be prophets: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

In Acts 9: 1-20 Saul receives the Good News the “hard way”: being struck down and blinded by the brightness of God as Jesus identifies himself to him and tells him what he must do. Jesus seems to take Saul’s conversion for granted; and in fact, when Ananias cures him, Saul, now known as Paul, is baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. Then “he began at once to proclaim Jesus.”

The sequence here is 
  1. encounter with Jesus; 
  2. instruction (we presume) from Ananias;
  3. Baptism
  4. the gift of the Holy Spirit (which may have preceded Baptism); 
  5. proclamation of the Good News with joy.

In the Church’s pastoral practice today, children usually receive Baptism first, then instruction — in the course of which, hopefully, they encounter Jesus. And then they may or may not — depending on how consciously they have received the Holy Spirit — begin to proclaim the Good News to others.

Jesus called Paul “an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles.” We are all chosen instruments of God, as truly as Paul was, consecrated as prophets by Baptism and empowered by the Spirit at Confirmation to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. But before we will do this we must encounter Jesus in a way that is deep, real and personal to us. And we need to pursue instruction as disciples in order to embody the message of Jesus authentically in our lives and express it without distortion in our words.

Eucharist is a key element in all this. If we participate “fully, actively and consciously,” we can both receive instruction and encounter Jesus, come to know him, “in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24: 27-35).

Eucharist also sustains and nourishes Christ’s life in us. In John 6: 52-59 Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me” — and will in turn be sent by Jesus to share with others the joy of life in Christ.

We are sent, not just by Christ, but as Christ: Jesus goes out with us to work in us and through us, as in his own body (which we are). He can give divine life through us because he abides in us, and we in him. Jesus has life from the Father; we have life from Jesus; and in us Jesus gives life to the world. This is our encouragement to “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News”: Christ in us.

Initiative: Be a prophet. Proclaim the Good News with joy. And train for it.


  1. Francis says about this in "Joy of the Gospel":
    6. There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress: “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is… But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness… It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam 3:17, 21-23, 26).

  2. You speak of "Joy", which I think people often confuse with "pleasure." We need to understand that there is a big difference between the two concepts. Pleasure stops when the activity producing it stops. Real Joy does not work that way. For example, eating causes me to feel pleasure - while I am eating. Once I stop eating, the pleasure stops. Working out does not really produce pleasure (not for me anyway!) but I am never sorry after I have worked out. Instead, I feel a sense of Joy because I have taken care of my body. Christian Joy is like that. And, being in Communion with God produces the ultimate Joy.

    1. Right on! It would save a lot of grief -- and perhaps spme people's faith -- if everyone knew that.


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