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(Part 121)


January 26, 2020

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 8:23-9:3
Psalm 27:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus began his public ministry by preaching and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17). Jesus came into a world of sin and darkness. Repentance was the necessary action to be able to move from darkness to light. And so it was that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.” (Is 9:1).

What was the mission of Jesus? “He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.” (Mt 4:23). His mission was threefold: (1) teaching or formation, (2) evangelization, and (3) total human liberation. The people of God need to be formed, then they can effectively work at evangelization, then they are used by God to bring liberation from evil, sin and darkness.

Jesus had a short public ministry of less than three years. He would accomplish his mission and then return to heaven. But his work needed to continue. So he called his first disciples and told them. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19). They did continue the work, which has reached up to the present time. Now it is our turn to do the very mission of Jesus.

What makes for effective evangelizers and missionaries?

First, we must respond to Jesus’ call with total commitment and focus. When Peter and Andrew were called, “at once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mt 4:20). When James and John were called, “immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” (Mt 4:22). The work of Jesus, which brings about salvation, is to be our first priority, even before the important aspects and family and livelihood.

Second, since this is the one work of the one Jesus, we, being part of the one body of Christ, are to be united in life and mission, according to the mind and heart of God. The enemy will try to weaken the body and the work by causing strife, rivalries and division.We must guard against these. “I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” (1 Cor 1:10).

Third, we must fully trust in God and not be afraid as we go about our mission. We will be opposing a powerful enemy as we engage in spiritual war, but God is there for us. “Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.” (Ps 27:3). We have Jesus who has already won the victory. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1).

Fourth, since there will be great challenges, including suffering and pains, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and on what is to come in the end. We will have our eternal reward. “One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit his temple.” (Ps 27:4).

If we go about the very mission of Jesus, then there will be great changes in the world and in the lives of people. Darkness will give way to light. Damnation will be replaced by salvation. Sorrow will turn to joy. “There is no gloom where there had been distress.” (Is 8:23).

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(Part 120)


December 25, 2019
Today’s reading: Isaiah 52:7-10

The work of evangelization is the most important work of a missionary Church. The work of evangelization is the proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace. Those who do this work are greatly extolled. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, saying to Zion, ‘Your God is King!’” (v.7).

This work is especially crucial today, when the world is in the deep darkness of sin and evil. This is even so for the people of God, many of whom are into apostasy. It is true for the Church, whose structures and foundations are crumbling under the onslaught of modernism. What can turn this situation around? Only the return of God’s presence in society and in the Church. Only this can bring comfort and joy for God’s people. “Listen! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord’s return to Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted his people, has redeemed Jerusalem.” (v.8-9).

What needs to happen? The Spirit has already called the Church to the New Evangelization. What is needed is for God’s people to respond. They need to become a holy army that will go forth in the strength and power of God and bring God’s salvation to the ends of the earth. “The Lord has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth can see the salvation of our God.” (v.10).

Onward, holy warriors.

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