I worked with the Hispanic Community out of Holy Angels Parish for a number of years. And, like clockwork, as the summertime approached, leaders would ask me: “When are we going to visit the neighborhood?” The question never was 'should we' or 'could we', but 'when'. These faith filled people took this gospel to heart and their energy and enthusiasm sparked my own.
In today's gospel, Jesus gives very specific instructions in sending out those very first missionaries. Perhaps he wanted them to know and trust completely that everything they needed would come from him. Hospitable families would provide for their human needs as they moved from place to place and all the power would be given them to accomplish the purpose of those visits.
There is a great line in one of Carey Landry's songs: 'Great things happen when God mixes with man!' The mission of loving, healing, forgiving is all God's doing, but he empowers us to be those visible signs. A child frightened of the dark was told by his mother that he need not worry because God was with him. He responded: 'I know, mom, but I need to seesome flesh and bones'!! God expects us to be that flesh and bones presence of his unconditional love.
We are all called in various ways to share the message. While some have been given the very specific task of reaching out in foreign lands, many of us are called to reach out to the 'close at hand' nations of our families, co-workers, friends, total strangers, everyone who is or will be part of our lives.
We are living in a time when the seeds of hatred, division, intolerance seem to be growing and thriving. Jesus' present day missionaries, you and I, must rise up to the occasion to spread the seeds of love, unity, forgiveness. The power to accomplish this comes from him who chose us from our birth and commissions us to 'go forth' with faith, trust, and courage.
-Sister Ann Marie Grasso
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221