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(Part 51)


November 30, 2013

Today’s readings:
Romans 10:9-18
Matthew 4:18-22

Jesus came into the world and suffered and died for us in order that we might be saved. The most important goal of Jesus’ mission was to win for us our salvation. Now he did that on the cross, by his death and resurrection. That is the gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus.

Thus we have been saved. But we actually only experience the fruit of that salvation when we accept and respond to what Jesus has done for us. Thus, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9). We need to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. This is what we call faith.

But “faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17). There is a process. People need to hear the word preached, then they believe, then they call upon his name, then they are saved (Rom 10:13-14). Thus the work of those who proclaim the gospel is so important and crucial. If there is no proclamation, the process does not get started. Then the salvation won by Jesus on the cross would be of no avail. Is it any wonder that it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Rom 10:15b).

Now for there to be those who proclaim the good news, they have to be sent. “And how can people preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:15a). This is why Jesus gave the Great Commission. This is why God, even now, sends us.

But before God can send us, He needed to call us. This was the case with the call of the first disciples, the apostles. In today’s gospel, Jesus calls two sets of brothers, who were all fishermen. The call was not totally alien from their present occupation, but was very radical. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19). They were still to cast a net, but this time catching men and not fish.

The four, not totally understanding what the call was about and what it would entail, responded wholeheartedly and radically. For Peter and Andrew, “at once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mt 4:20). For James and John, “immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” (Mt 4:22). They responded with urgency and acted “at once” and “immediately,” leaving no time to be lost. They acted on the higher priority, leaving their livelihood and their family. They followed him without hesitancy--without question, without assurance of provisions, without a properly laid-out plan.

How about us? How have we responded to the call to evangelize?

Do we hesitate and doubt that we can be of true use to Jesus in proclaiming his gospel? Like Isaiah, would we say, “Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?” (Rom 10:16b). Or would we doubt our effectivity, as we face hard soil and hard hearts? Would we give up as we say, “But not everyone has heeded the good news” (Rom 10:16a). Would we be frustrated as we ask, “did they not hear?” (Rom 10:18a).

But our task is to proclaim the gospel. To the ends of the earth. If we are to ask if people hear, we should ourselves hear the clear answer: “Certainly they did; for ‘Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom 10:18). Our effort is never wasted. We just do our part, and it is up to God to produce the fruit.

Our task is urgent and is of the highest priority. Onward to the New Evangelization!

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