Friday, August 31, 2012

Acts 12:20-25 and start chapter 13

Acts 12:20-25       Compare Daniel 4:28-37 Application? (See Daniel 4:1-27 on your own for the backstory to this text. Note how long it was between the dream and the fulfillment in verse 29. What does that suggest about the patience of God?).  Now see Jeremiah 17:9. What does that suggest about humanity's fundamental problem? Compare also CS Lewis: A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.

What does humility have to do with all this? Consider the prayer of Cardinal Merry de Val: Litany of Humility. How might a person's life change as a result of frequently praying that litany?

Chapter 13
St. Paul’s First Missionary Journey


13:1    Note the comment about Manaen. See Matthew 14:1-11. How does one turn out to be a Herod and another to be a Manaen? Read my essay titled, Child or Tool here:  Might that speak to the question?

13:2-5           This 'sending' is clearly not reserved only for apostles, bishops, priests and religious. They do not work where we work, shop where we shop, live where we live, study where we study. The gospel would never cover the world if Jesus left it only to the clergy. Consider the role of the Church (comprised of clergy and laity) cited in the Catechism paragraphs 849-852 (below) as well as the excerpts from Pope Benedict, Pope Paul the VI and Thomas a Kempis (also below). (BOLDED highlights are for my emphasis).

849 The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men":339 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age."340

850 The origin and purpose of mission. The Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit."341 The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.342

851 Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343 Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. . . . . Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

852 Missionary paths. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist, "the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission."345 It is he who leads the Church on her missionary paths. "This mission continues and, in the course of history, unfolds the mission of Christ, who was sent to evangelize the poor; so the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice even to death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection."346So it is that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians."347
Excerpt from Pope Benedict speech, cited by from CNA/EWTN news of May 30, 2011:

Pope Benedict stressed the urgency of evangelizing modern society, saying that Christians today face the task of reaching a world that grows increasingly apathetic to the message of the Gospel.

. . . .  “It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity.”

The entire Christian community “is called to revive the missionary spirit in order to offer the new message that persons of our times are hoping for.”

The “lifestyle of believers needs real credibility," the Pope said, adding that Christians should be "much more convincing" because the "condition of the persons to whom it is addressed" is dramatic.

Also consider the following:

ON NOVEMBER 18, 1965

. . . . “But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.”

. . . .“Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ.”

And reflect on these questions of Thomas a Kempis:

What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?

         Question for further reflection: How do you see your role in the missionary mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ? What talents, time and treasure are you dedicating to the building up of the Kingdom of God? Why not consider asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you ways in which you might increase your commitment to God's work on earth?

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