FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION:
TWELFTH WEEK OF THE YEAR
Conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:1 to 7:29) continuing with Matthew 8:1-17: The key to all ministry is “You will be able to tell them by their fruits.” For our ministry to be authentic, people must see in our lives evidence that we have the heart and mind of Jesus; that he is ministering through us on a divine, not just a human, level.
Jesus counts on us to continue his ministry on earth. He invites us to make him present throughout all space and time, ministering in and through us as his real body on earth to give physical and spiritual healing.
Our faith: How many of these statements do you believe? And live?
All sin is damaging, but the sins that devastate society are the ones we seem least concerned about. At least, they rarely come up when we confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation!
Matthew 7: 1-5: God does not promise that ordinary morality will save the world. But Christian morality can — if we dedicate ourselves to ministering to all people with the love of God himself.
Matthew 7: 6-14: The “narrow path” is the way Jesus shows us to think and act when he calls us off the “beaten path” of our cultural assumptions.
“Cultural Christians” are those who water down the Gospel to make Christianity compatible with the “American way of life” because they want to “fit in.”
Discretion can become self-deception. There is danger that the “pearls” we don’t reveal to others will become invisible to ourselves.
The essence of ministry is self-expression. We must give physical, human expression to the invisible, divine faith, hope and love in our hearts
Matthew 7: 15-20: First in priority in the formation of ministers should be live, personal, ongoing interaction with Jesus Christ. Union of mind and heart with him, not professional formation, is the soul of Christian ministry.
Matthew 7: 21-29: If we want those we love to be happy, the best thing we can do for them is teach them to know and love God. This is more important for our children than providing them with an education that can provide financial security.
Matthew 8: 1-4: It is not enough to ask Jesus to choose to help us as Savior. We have to choose to accept his way of saving. This means choosing his way of life.
Matthew 8: 5-17 shows us Jesus ministering as “Universal Lord” to a non-Jew who passed his “crisis of faith” by recognizing him implicitly as “Son of God.” We who reveal him present as “Emmanuel” today in our ministry call people to that same faith.
Express your faith to all whom it will not harm.
Offer people what they really need for happiness.