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THURSDAY HOMILY: Walk in Love. Continue the Redemptive Mission of Jesus

By Deacon Keith Fournier
November 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Gospel invites us to examine ourselves. Do we understand that we are all called to be missionaries in this age? No matter what our state in life, job, or our specific vocation, we are first, last and all in between, Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, sent in the world of this age to continue His redemptive mission. He lives His life in us - and through us - walking the dusty roads of this age to set the captives free. He calls us to walk in love.

CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic online) - Today at Mass we hear from the Gospel of St. Luke. The text is from the beginning of the 15th chapter. In the previous chapter, Luke presented the accounts of Jesus healing a man with dropsy on the Sabbath, addressed the primacy of the virtue of humility and reminded the disciples of the missionary call - from which no one is excused - to go out and fill the Banquet Hall for the coming Wedding Feast of the Lamb. He also addressed the cost of discipleship, including even strined family relationships. He ended with a sobering admonition and question about salt - Salt is good but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?

It is after all of this that we pick up with this introduction. Luke begins by telling us who Jesus is addressing. The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."  So Jesus addressed this parable to them. Once again, these are the religious people, the ones who should have had their ears open to hear the Word of God as it was being spoken by the Incarnate Word, standing in their midst. people like you and me. Jesus says:

What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you; in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.'  In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:1-10)

Jesus, who fully reveals the Father, is giving us an insight into the Heart of God - and calling all who whom He calls to follow Him, to have this same heart, this same attitude, as we engage in his continuing redemptive mission. That is the vocation of every Christian. That is the vocation of the Church - the whole Church. That means you and me.

Jesus has been raised from the dead and continues his redemptive work through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. Our love for the sheep must mirror the love of the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety nine. Our eagerness to find the seeds of the Kingdom, and invite others along on the same path, must mirror the woman who lost that coin.

The Gospel invites us to examine ourselves. Do we understand that we are all called to be missionaries in this age? No matter what our state in life, job, or our specific vocation, we are first, last and all in between, Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, sent in the world of this age to continue His redemptive mission. He lives His life in us - and through us - walking the dusty roads of this age to set the captives free. He calls us to walk in love.

On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Pope Francis gave a beautiful teaching in St. Peters square, another one of his Wednesday Catechesis instructions. It was on Charity and living the Gospel as a sign of our communion with spiritual goods. I will be writing on the insights later on this week.

However, this morning I want to read from an official Vatican account of what he spoke - not through his words - but through the beautiful action which followed. This is a Pope who clearly walks the talk. I end with the Vatican account and invite us all to reflect on the meaning of the action - and the implications it should have on how we choose to live our own lives as followers of Jesus.

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Without love, Pope Francis emphasized, even the most extraordinary gifts are in vain, while the smallest of our gestures of love brings good to all. This brotherly solidarity is not a rhetorical figure, a figure of speech, but rather an integral part of communion between Christians. If we live this solidarity, we are a sign to the world, a 'sacrament' of God's love.

This is not that easy charity that we offer between ourselves, but instead something deeper: it is a communion that makes us able to enter into the joy and the pain of others in order to sincerely make them our own. And often we are too arid, indifferent and detached, and instead of transmitting brotherliness, we transmit ill-humor, coldness and selfishness. And with ill-humor, coldness and selfishness, one cannot help the Church to grow; the Church grows only with the love that comes from the Holy Spirit.

"And I would now like to ask of you an act of charity, said the Holy Father to the tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, and added jokingly, Don't worry! It's not a collection! Before coming to the Square, I went to see a seriously ill child aged just one and a half. Her mother and father pray and implore the Lord to cure their daughter.

She is called Noemi and she smiled, poor girl. Let us carry out an act of love; we do not know her but she is a baptized child, she is one of us, a Christian. Let us ask the Lord to help her in this moment and to give her health: first in silence, and then let us pray the Hail Mary.

Silence fell over the square for a moment, after which the Pope said, And now let us pray together to the Virgin for the health of Noemi. . Thank you for this act of charity, he concluded, after more than fifty thousand people recited the Hail Mary in unison.

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