The Message of Hope I Bring
April 29, 2021 (readings)
- Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
- Fr. James Swanson, LC
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me. From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, you taught the Apostles to pray, and they were unstoppable in their mission as your messengers. Help me to pray well now, so I can hear your words of encouragement and be sent out to help my wounded brothers and sisters.
Christ’s Messengers: Jesus sent out the Apostles; in fact, that is what the word “Apostle” means—someone who is sent out, a messenger. They had been given a message uniquely their own; no one else could duplicate it. They had been with Jesus during his life. Although most of them ran away, they were nearby when he died. They were witnesses of the empty tomb and then saw him risen from the dead. They were witnesses to the Resurrection. As his first-hand witnesses, the Apostles were sent out by Jesus to spread the Good News—that Jesus had risen from the dead and that through his death and Resurrection we are all saved from sin. Later, St. Paul was also called an Apostle because he saw the Risen Lord while on his way to Damascus.
Respect: Since the Apostles were sent by Christ, they received the same respect from the early Christians as would have been given Jesus if he had come to them. The Apostles were their (and our!) link to Jesus. In fact, the early Church used this criterion to decide what books would be in the New Testament: If there was reasonable evidence that a book had been written by one of the Apostles, or at least a disciple who had contact with Jesus, the early Church considered it a part of the New Testament. The authorship of some books was in doubt, and those did not make it into the New Testament. The early Church respected the words of these messengers chosen by Jesus as if Jesus had written them himself.
We Are Also His Messengers: Jesus also sends us. We aren’t apostles in the same way the Twelve and St. Paul were Apostles, but we are still called to bear witness to Jesus. We are called to witness to his love in our life: all the things he has done for us, all of his favors and gifts, and the graces he has given us to help us grow into better, more virtuous people. The longer we have followed him, listened to him speak in our hearts, and felt his power in our everyday life, the more we can bear witness to him. Jesus gives us all of these things for our benefit, but also so that we can also spread the good news. By our lives, we can bring hope to others in this world who need it so much!
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for all the things you have done for me. Thank you for allowing me to see that you are real, that you are still working today, and that you love me. Help me be your messenger to everyone who enters my life so that they can have the same hope and joy that I have!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for an opportunity to encourage someone who seems down, reminding them that close to you, they will always find a reason to hope.
For Further Reflection: The Four Signs of A Dynamic Catholic: How Engaging 1% of Catholics Could Change the World by Matthew Kelly.
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