(I Kings 19: 16, 19-21 Galatians 5: 1, 13-18 Luke 9: 51-62)
The urgent need for us to set all the corners of the world ablaze with the joy of the Good News of Salvation through evangelization is paramount; there are no excuses for us to delay in answering and responding to the call to let all the earth experience the effect of the Good News of Salvation.
There is, in fact, no need to worry as to what to declare to the world because the core message is that Jesus Christ has taken away the sins of the world, and for that reason, we can no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus Christ. It is here that most of us find it so difficult to follow since we still hold on to our past self-seeking ways that offer us an apparent, unfulfilling, and transient satisfaction. The reason and essence of Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension are all that we ought to announce to the world, as we bear in mind the need to implore the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit in all matters of evangelization. This can be done if only we are so willing to get rid of our prideful self-seeking entitlement and glorification. Calling to mind that we are just earthly vessels carrying the Good News of Salvation would be a welcoming platform to reassess the way we disseminate the Good News of Salvation. We ought to spread the essence of what is contained in the vessels through the vessels; we do not spread the essence of the vessels through what is contained in the vessels.
(Zephaniah 12: 10-11; 13: 1 Galatians 3: 26-29 Luke 9: 18-24)
The freezing and responding aspects of our vocations to walk in the footsteps of Christ help us deal with the canker of the inordinate selfishness found in the society that breeds so much hatred and sinfulness. The moment we freeze and respond to any vocations of Christ, we ought to surrender to the rhythm of redeeming grace. With such a surrender, we are then made by the grace of God into the beacons of hope for those who live in darkness of sin and death, so that they too may come and see the light of Christ through our words and deeds. An amount of knowledge of Jesus Christ, with an exuberant joy of giving witness to his life, is all that each person needs to respond to the various vocations we have or are in.
Most of us proclaim Jesus as the Jesus of our emotions with an attitude of touchy-feely. But this trivializes the essence of the life of Christ, making many people follow that route. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude towards the life of Jesus does not, and cannot, withstand the test of living the life of Christ, since the life of Christ has nothing to do with any selfish sentimentality. The life of Christ which we must understand and proclaim to all is that of his ultimate selfless sacrifice of his life for us on the cross. This kind of life is what people want to hear and see in us, as we sacrifice our uniqueness for the sake and well-being of others. As Christ’s words could be paraphrased, we ought to strive and die to ourselves by carrying our crosses, as we go through the narrow way that leads to eternal life, knowing that any attempt to choose the broad way would lead to destruction. Unfortunately, many are those who prefer the broad way that leads to the destruction of their souls. We cannot sit aloof and be unconcerned; we ought to help them with a sincere merciful love by gradually and patiently reminding them of their calling in Christ.
(2 Samuel 12: 7-10, 13 Galatians 2: 16, 19-21 Luke 7: 36—8: 3)
There is a need to invest so much energy in the Kerygma, which is the Proclamation of the Good News, before spending the rest of our energies with the Didache, which is the Catechetical or Teaching aspects of the tenets of the Good News. When people are gradually led to accept the faith with their personal free wills without any form of an imposition or coercion, it becomes much easier to explain the tenets of the faith to them. As Kerygma does, it literally brings forth something special and precious to light as glorious so that it attracts people to have a profound yearning to possess that which is glorious. This is what the proclamation of the Good News must generate in the hearts, souls, and minds of the hearers. Anything short of this will make the Good News fall on deaf ears, as we have witnessed it all these years, even until now in our contemporary world. How can we teach others when we ourselves do not have a solid understanding of and love for what we are teaching? We tend to impose on others our idiosyncratic interpretation of the Good News, which in fact may have been acquired through a wrong interpretation from another source.
Preaching the Good News of Salvation is not a matter of tepidity and insipidity; it is a matter of living out with enthusiasm and trust what we have accepted as glorious, so that we might achieve what is so glorious with the Good News. With that, those who see in us the glorious miracles of our lives would long to know more of what is the motivator, Jesus, of the kind of lives we live. At this point of “catching” people’s attention, we can then explain the tenets of the Good News of Salvation through Didache, or Teaching, as today’s readings tend to explain to us. If we want people to live holy lives, then we must first show in our own lives that holy lives are crafted with the fabric of compassion and mercy, just as God has shown us compassion and mercy through the gift of Jesus. Our personal interpretation of holiness should not obscure the true holiness of Jesus which should be the core tenet of the Good News. We are just instruments of the Good News and not the Good News itself; Christ is the Good News. A reading of Matthew 5: 13-16 could help us understand what Kerygma or Proclamation means in our endeavor to bring the light and life of Christ to all.
(1 Kings 17: `7-24 Galatians 1: 11-19 Luke 7: 11-17)
Jesus Christ is the Blessed One who comes in the name of the Lord to give us salvation. For this reason, the Church cries out Hosanna in the Highest in her Liturgies. Our body and souls have been wracked and sickened by sin as a result of the uncontrolled orientation of our desires due our unbridled selfishness. Salvation, which in essence is the salving of the soul from all stains of the corruption of sin and death, is a gift from God. That is the reason for the Processions of the Three Divine Persons of God to communicate a need for us to live not for ourselves but for Christ who came to die for us. The temporal earthly healing is all that we need as we journey toward achieving the fullness of healing in heaven when we shall behold the face of God.
Christ has redeemed us to make our salvation a sure bet. By his Sacred Heart, which we constantly pierce and wound by our sins since Calvary, we are healed so that we can also bring this healing to all corners of the earth as we are set on fire for the love and mercy of God to change the face of the earth. We do this by way of Evangelizing with the “Kerygma” before thinking of Catechizing with the “Didache”. Most of the time, we Christians all too often want to Catechize without first to Evangelize. But it should be the other way around if we mean to engage ourselves in the total business of bringing the healing presence of God to the rest of the world. If we live out the faith in all its simplicity without forcing people to accept a particular dogma, but allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of our enterprises, then we shall see much more people having the strongest desire to know more of the need of salvation. With this, all the actual and apparent sicknesses in the society would be healed, since each person would be in consonance with the graces needed to live a life worthy of the way of the Lord that leads to salvation. All our efforts to heal the world of all its sicknesses, be it physical, emotional, psychological, and all the rest, can only be accomplished if we set the world on fire by first dealing with our selfishness before attempting to deal with one person at a time to create a strong desire for the love of God in each person’s heart through a true witness to the real reason why Christ came to our lives and died for us. It is all about the loving kindness and the love of God for us!
(Genesis 14: 18-20 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26 Luke 9: 11-17)
Heaven is our final destination to have a full communion with the Holy Trinity. The fulfilment of all human desires would be in heaven since no human desire is ever satiating. For this reason, humans always keep on searching for new ways to satisfy their desires, no matter the means. Religion becomes a means to have a sense of a lasting solution to the demands of our desires. Jesus touches our lives to let us know how to handle and to channel our desires. Jesus, then, becomes the true desire of all ages, since by having a complete trust in Jesus and imitating him, we experience a foretaste of heaven here and now.
Christ gives us the meaning and purpose of true religion by showing us the way to redirect all our desires towards God instead of towards ourselves. This destroys our selfishness in order to free our souls to give the utmost praise, glory, honor, and thanksgiving to God. It becomes a life of stewardship as we give up a modicum of who we are and what we have to God as an appreciation of the goodness we have received from God. We do this through a tithing of our time, talent, and treasure, with a complete trust in God.
By all human standards, it is very difficult to live a selfless life. It is by grace that we can tread on this religious journey of selflessness to reach our final destiny; no other means can ever make us move on to this journey since any other means starts and ends in and with us. The sacraments which are grace-filled actions help us to be selfless as they increase in us an awareness of our true purpose here on earth. The Holy Eucharist, for example, makes us more closely united to Christ, and it has every grace needed for us to achieve our purpose on earth. By participating in, and receiving the Holy Eucharist, Christ truly unites with us so that we become one body, as all walls of selfishness are broken and destroyed. With the Holy Eucharist, we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ who died for us in order to reconcile us to one another and to the Father.