SUNDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Is 45:1,4-6; Ps 96; 1 Thes 1:1-5; Mt 22: 15-21
WE ARE HIS CHOSEN
There is a Gospel Web-Series called ‘The Chosen’ that is being streamed online. It’s the New Testament events shown with a modern touch. It revolves primarily around the men and women chosen by Jesus to be His disciples. The characters portray that those chosen by Jesus and therefore by God, are uniquely different from the other, each having their own God-given talents and positive qualities, but they are weak human beings too and to some extent, even crazy. Yet, the Lord chose them. Not because of who they were in the past, nor what they were when He called them, but because of what He knew they would become in the future.
The first and second readings of today’s liturgy have one word in common and that is ‘Chosen’. In the first reading, the Lord chose ‘Cyrus’ as His instrument for His own purpose. He anoints him and promises to work marvels through him. The amazing fact is that the Lord chose one, who didn’t even know Him and the Lord Himself says that (Is 45:4,5). We see a similar fact in the story of St Paul. Paul, who probably knew Jesus only by name and was persecuting those who followed Him, was chosen by the same Lord Jesus to be His chosen and powerful instrument to spread His word and kingdom. Therefore, the Lord rightly states “You did not choose me but I chose you.” (Jn 15:16)
If you and I today have been blessed by the grace of Baptism and have the privilege and blessing of knowing the one true God in Jesus Christ, we are the chosen ones of God. He has created and called us for a purpose. And this purpose is not limited to this short life only but to the perspective of eternity. Each of us is chosen for a unique purpose, which no other can fulfill. And not only that, the Lord promises us His accompaniment, His strength, His guidance and protection through the Holy Spirit. The Evangelist Mark tells us the purpose of Jesus calling the apostles i.e. to be with Him and to be sent out (cf. Mk 3:14).
We can call this the formula or general principle of the purpose for all chosen ones. He wants us to be with Him all the time, not just in certain seasons of the liturgical year like Lent or Advent, nor during some fixed month or just a couple of days and weeks or not even just on a Sunday: Though Sunday is a day consecrated and kept exclusively for the Lord. We ought to give Him our exclusive time for certain hours and days, but nothing and no one can hinder us from being with Him 24/7. No network coverage problem can deter our communication with Him. Wherever we are and whatever we do, we can always be in His presence. By just remembering that He is eternally present to us. Gazing at us, taking delight in us, His wonderful creation, whom He loves so much. With that awareness of His loving presence with us, we are sent to our families, workplaces, communities and societies, to bear witness to His love, joy, peace and mercy. As He blesses us, we in turn ought to be a blessing to the other.
Today on mission Sunday, as we remember and pray for all the missionaries, especially in remote places and in difficult circumstances, let us strive to be little missionaries in our own sphere of life. We may not have the opportunity to proclaim the Word of God on street corners or give missions, but we can do the most crucial and challenging task in this present times, i.e. to be a witness by our lives. We have St Therese as an example and model for us, who became the patroness of the missions even though she never went on a mission. She was a Cloistered Carmelite nun who lived according to the way of littleness and weakness. Having poor health, she died at the age of only 24. But though her body was sickly, her heart was vibrant, it was a missionary. The ‘Little Way’ she followed is accessible to all, no matter your state of life. She won souls to Christ by doing even the littlest of things, like the Lord did, with great love. Simple but heroic, because it requires daring confidence and trust in God, that He can change our most insignificant act into one of great value and a means of salvation to another. So go on and be a missionary today!
Response: Give the Lord glory and power.
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