A Message of Joy and Hope

07-11-2021Pastor's Letter© LPi

Maybe the work is best left to the professionals. That’s how many people view the preaching of the Gospel. That’s the stuff priests, religious, deacons, lay ministers, and other professional Church people do. It has little to do with me. Well, that’s not really true. The fact of the matter is that preaching the Gospel has everything to do with you, with all of us who are baptized members of the Body of Christ. Nobody gets off the hook from that job. The question is, however, how do we do it? Well, there’s a safe way, which many choose, to preach the Gospel — and the risky way. The safe way pretty much keeps the Gospel in church and around like-minded people. I say my prayers, go to Mass, contribute to the food pantry, tithe, and attend Bible Study. That pretty much covers the bases, right? Wrong.

The risky way is the more challenging way and for many, the “road less traveled.” Imagine those first disciples going out and into people’s homes. They must have had some amazing conversations with folks about God’s kingdom, changing their hearts, forgiving sins, and looking at the world differently. They must have met people who were hurting, exiled from their communities, neglected, lost, or living self-insulated lives in a society that served the rich and neglected the poor. While there were many who welcomed what they had to say and the conversations they had, there were others who no doubt rejected them and literally tossed them out on their ears! The Gospel, while being a message of joy and hope, is not always received well by those who are very comfortable keeping things as they are.

The risky way involves example and conversation. We have to take the Gospel from church and carry it with us wherever we go. What kinds of conversations do we have with others? We interact with those closest to us, in our work, social circles, institutions, corporations, in politics, and beyond. Our conversations with others reveal a great deal about how we see things and what we consider important. If we are really interested in seeing God’s vision for the world succeed, then we will talk about it. It will become a part of our everyday conversation and find its way into our interactions with others. How will we preserve the dignity of human life and encourage others to have a relationship with God? We must be the example, live value centered, virtuous lives, stand against injustice, combating racism, and learn ways to resolve conflicts without violence.

If we are going to succeed going forward, we have to find a way to bring our prayer centered lives into the marketplace. Our conversations have to change. Not everyone wants to hear what the Gospel has to say. That’s a risk God asks us to take.

Discipulos Misioneros Fieles

Este domingo, la Palabra de Dios nos invita a tener en cuenta dos características: “Hoy narra el momento en el que Jesús envía a los doce en misión: Se detiene en el estilo del enviado, que podemos resumir en dos puntos: la misión tiene un centro; la misión tiene un rostro. El discípulo misionero tiene antes que nada su centro de referencia, que es la persona de Jesús. Y la segunda característica del estilo misionero es, por así decir, un rostro que consiste en la pobreza de los medios. Su equipamiento responde a un criterio de sobriedad” (Papa Francisco (7/15/2018).

¿Quién es el responsable de responder al mensaje de Jesús y del Papa Francisco actualmente? Sencillamente, todos los bautizados somos enviados a llevar a cabo el mensaje de Jesús. Teniendo en cuenta que es su mensaje, no mi mensaje. Todos los bautizados somos llamados a dar testimonio del amor liberador del Reino anunciado por Jesús. Y en este tiempo de pandemia, de descontrol, de sufrimiento y de muerte, ¿qué anunciamos, qué misión y mensaje tenemos a cargo? Siempre, es la misma misión y mensaje, un anuncio de conversión, de volver nuestra mirada y corazón al Señor. Existe, tanto por hacer, mucho que sanar, mucho que curar en la familia, y en la sociedad. En resumen, reflexionemos en las últimas palabras del Evangelio de hoy: “Fueron, pues, a predicar, invitando a la conversión. Expulsaban a muchos espíritus malos y sanaban a numerosos enfermos, ungiéndoles con aceite” (Marcos 6:12). Seamos, pues, discípulos misioneros fieles y comprometidos a su Palabra. En cualquiera que sea nuestra vocación, siempre de dos en dos. ¡Misión y mensaje!