Thursday, XIV Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

The Kingdom of heaven is at hand! (2)

Readings: 1st: Hosea 11:1-4. 8-9 ; Ps: 80; Gos: Mt 10:1-7

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is the Thursday of the fourteenth week of ordinary time. In today’s gospel, Matthew presents the second part of the narrative of the sending out of the twelve disciples by Christ. 

Yesterday, Christ insisted that they should go first, to the lost sheep of Israel. Today, he further defines the purpose of that mission. He equally gave them more concrete instructions on how to carry out this mission.

Although, their mission was not just about being successful, because its success did not depend solely on their human efforts, however, following these instructions will help them to remain focused on their mission.

So, once again, in order to highlight its importance, today’s gospel begins by reiterating the main objective of a true Christian mission. That is: “Go, and proclaim, that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.”

Every true missionary must respect this objective. This is what distinguishes a true missionary from a social worker, a tourist, or even en explorer.

Yes, like Paul, a missionary should endeavor: “To become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor 9:19-23).

For this reason, every day, I thank God for the legion of missionaries who as nurses, farmers, teachers, builders, accountants, counselors, physicians, psychologists, care givers, soldiers, policemen, mechanics, lawyers, ecologists, nutritionists, administrators, etcetera are making Christ, and his church proud.

Although, many of them are unsung heroes, they continue to serve and heal our world every day, while burning out gently and gradually, as consecrated pascal candles.  

However, in addition to being all of these, a true missionary is unique because of the “God talk” he or she brings to the people. The novelty which we bring to our people is the good news that: “The kingdom of God is close at hand.”

Hence, a very important lesson for us in today’s gospel is that, we must remain focused while carrying out God’s mission. We must not let the mundane distract us.

Second, God who has called us to serve him will never abandon us. As the great provider (Gen 22: 1-14), and a covenant keeping God (Deut 7:9), he will meet all our needs, according to the riches of his glory, in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19).

This is a blessed assurance, and it never fails or disappoints!

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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