A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 9:43b-45)
While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
Good News Reflection: True Apostolate
Introductory Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of this new day. I am here in your presence just to please you, listen to your word and discover what you want from me. Speak Lord, for your servant is listening. Strengthen my will so that I might fulfill only what is pleasing to you throughout this day.
Petition:Lord Jesus, I want to be a true apostle. Show me the path of interior purification so that in conquering myself, I will be a better instrument in your hands to build up your kingdom.
1. The Dazzle of the Apostolate.All of us would like to see the world at Christ’s feet. We would like to see a society where everyone loves God above all else and their neighbor as themselves. Thus, when we participate in a World Youth Day, a pro-life rally, a Marian Congress or missions of evangelization, we get a good feeling inside. We have helped others to know and love God a little more. All of the efforts we made were worthwhile. This is the dazzle of the apostolate. We all want to see miracles, massive conversions, huge lines at the confessionals and everyone praising God. It makes us feel like real apostles. With our adrenaline running high, we are filled with joy and enthusiasm. After all, isn’t this what it is all about? –– “Lord, you called me to be your apostle, to build your kingdom. Look at the crowds all astonished by your majesty. Mission fulfilled! Lord, how good it is to be here.”
2. The Shadow of the Cross.But just as Jesus, on Palm Sunday, was not deceived by the “Hosannas” and “Alleluias,” he wants to get our feet back on the ground. He tells us, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” The cross is the real road to the salvation of mankind. Jesus knows why he came into this world. He has a mission to fulfill and the praise of a few followers is not going to sidetrack him. “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49-50).
3. Getting the Story Straight.We look at the crowds that are acclaiming Christ and we are not supposed to feel good about all of this? To see all of the enthusiasm for Christ, religion, the Pope, in our times… this is truly a miracle. But our enthusiasm needs to also be united to Jesus’ suffering if the enthusiasm is to be redemptive and life-changing. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). The enthusiasm of the crowds in the Gospels often missed the point; instead of being excited about finding Christ they tended to be merely dazzled by the miracles he worked. Those miracles and that eagerness should have led them to accept Jesus’ new covenant, meaning death to ourselves and our evil inclinations in order to “clothe ourselves with the “new man” reated in God´s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Ephesians 4:24). So yes, continue generating enthusiasm for Christ and the Church, but never forget that this is only the beginning, the first step. We have to go all the way to Calvary for there to be lasting fruits for the Kingdom of Christ.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, I understand that a true apostle must be “a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies” in order to produce fruit. You understand how difficult suffering is. I do not ask you to take the chalice of suffering away from me but that you give me the strength to generously accept the cross. Grant me the grace to die to myself and the world so that your kingdom might grow in me and through me. Help me to be a more courageous apostle of your kingdom.
Resolution:Today, I will try to bring at least one person to a deeper knowledge and enthusiasm for Christ so that they will advance along the road of their true conversion, overcoming their inclinations to sin.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC