Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"every bit our brothers and sisters"

During his general audience on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Pope Francis reflected on the calling of Matthew to discipleship by Jesus. A sinner and a tax collector for the Romans, Matthew - a Jew himself - was despised by Jews because he represented the whole of Roman occupation and dominance.  Christ however, sees in Matthew a brother who was created "in the image of God" (Gen 1:27) and it is in that simple recognition of who each of us is that rests the entirety of Christ's ministry.

Christ saw every individual as His brother and sister - created in the "image and likeness" (Gen 1:26) of His Father, while simultaneously witnessing to their dignity as His children - fully participating within His Person in the Most Holy Trinity. In so doing, Jesus took every opportunity to meet His brothers and sisters, sons and daughters where they were at, physically, mentally, and spiritually, rather than where He was.

God left the glory of the Heavens to walk with us here on earth not as a king, but as a man born of a poor virgin in a stable. Christ left the comfort of His simple confines - the four walls of His home, the love and protection of His earthly family, the friends within His close-knit religious community to venture out and engage a hostile world face-to-face, bringing the Good News wherever He traveled.
Our Lord waited nowhere for people to come to Him, but instead traveled everywhere - bringing The Word to the people - exactly where they were. His approach taught His Apostles - just as it teaches us - that one cannot save the world, or a neighborhood, or a street, or a neighbor from behind the four walls of a church, or our homes, but only by engaging them where they are, bringing the Church to them.

And so today, we once again left the safety and confines of the four walls of our church, our homes, and our families and asked the Holy Spirit to walk with us, in us and through us, as we brought the Good News of our Lord - Jesus Christ, to our neighbors, who are every bit our brothers and sisters. And in so doing, we provided another 54 homes in our community an opportunity to reflect upon who Christ is, or is not in their lives, and perhaps by the Grace of God, who they might wish Him to become in their lives.

As we closed out our day, we ended in prayer - as we always do, asking our Heavenly Father "to send the peace of the Holy Spirit upon all those we visited, to fortify and sustain them with hope and love, to guide them and comfort those in most need; that God would overshadow them with mercy, granting them the graces necessary to face and accept the challenges and joys of their lives in a manner that brings the greatest glory to God, that He would help to open their hearts, minds and souls to the Holy Spirit so that they may grow in their faith, hope, love, and trust in God, and that He would bless them with the Fruits of the Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary".