HOMILY WEEK 14 05 – Year II
Ready to Evangelize
(Hos 14:1-9; Ps 51; Mt 10:16-23)
“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves.”
This statement from Jesus can be a little intimidating. However, if we are solidly grounded in the Father’s love experienced through forgiveness and healing, we can be missionary disciples ready to evangelize a world often hostile toward us.
Both the prophet Hosea and the psalm today affirm God’s love in spite of Israel’s infidelity. “I will love them freely,” Hosea has God proclaim. In both readings, that love comes through forgiveness and healing. In terms of forgiveness, we read God will blot out their transgressions, wash away their iniquity, and cleanse them from their sin.
In terms of healing, we read God will heal their disloyalty, teach them wisdom, purge them with hyssop, create a clean heart and put a new and right spirit within them. The result of all that forgiveness and healing will be the restoration of the joy of God’s salvation, and a renewed willing spirit.
All this speaks of the two-fold mission of Jesus as the Messiah – to redeem and to sanctify, to forgive and to heal. This experience of being loved by God will prepare the disciples, and us, to be joyful missionaries of God’s love to that resistant and hostile world Jesus warns them about. We know that today there are probably more martyrs being created than at any other time in the history of the Church.
The Word Among Us, in a commentary for today, provides an interesting analogy. A letter, however well written and sealed, goes nowhere without a stamp. We are that letter, with our gifts, talents and effort, and God’s grace is the stamp that will render out ministry fruitful. It is important we stay rooted in God’s love especially through prayer, both discursive and contemplative, and participation in the sacramental life of the Church.
The Eucharist is our greatest prayer and best way to stay grounded in God’s love, to receive both God’s forgiveness and healing, through word and sacrament, and also the greatest source of our joy.
May our celebration cleanse us, make us whole, and strengthen us to joyfully proclaim the love of God we have experienced, to a world that needs, yet often resists, that love.