July 7, 2019 /14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Three classmates in high school met in a class reunion. “In our town,” said the first, “people call me ‘Monsignor’ because I am a lay minister.” The second bragged: “Well, I’m a charismatic elder. I give spiritual talks so everybody calls me ‘Cardinal’.”
Unimpressed, the third said: “I’m higher than you two. I’m a sales representative, going from house to house, but I serve as collector at Mass. Many call me ‘God.’” “What, God? How come!” his friends asked. “You see, when I knock at the doors of my customers and they see me,” the sales rep said, “they exclaim, “My God, my God, you again!”
The gospel of this 14th Sunday relates about Jesus calling his first apostles–a band of simple fishermen. “They left everything”–their work, their boats, their families–and followed him (read Matthew 10, 1 ff.). This formed the core group on which Christ founded his Church. Unfortunately many have the misconception that the call of Christ is addressed only to the apostles and their successors: priests, bishops and popes.
That’s not true. Every Christian is commissioned to the ministry of healing, preaching and teaching by virtue of his or her baptism. Those professionals in the funny story above demonstrate this. The Decree on the Laity of Vatican II states: “Incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body through baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through confirmation, the LAITY are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord himself” (3).
How can you be an apostle of Christ in our modern time? You can do this concretely by participating in church works in your parish. Today there are numerous lay Catholics who sacrifice time, talent and treasure, rendering services as lay ministers, lectors, collectors, choir members, catechists, social workers.
Also, many are involved in church organizations like the Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League and renewal communities like the Marriage Encounter, Couples for Christ, PREX, and others. The most basic and effective form of apostolate today is the TESTIMONY of Christian living or practising the values Christ taught like honesty, justice, love, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.
British Malcolm Muggeridge was a TV journalist celebrity who did not care much about God and religion. He did something he swore he would never do—become a Catholic. What led to his conversion? He had an assignment to write about the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Travelling to India, Muggeridge thought the trip was just the usual work but the amazing thing was, in the course of his talks and days of observation of the kindly nun, he experienced a change of heart.
Muggeridge said: “Words cannot express how much I owe her. She showed me Christianity in action. She showed me the power of love.” Ask yourself: Would lukewarm and non-Catholics be edified by your way of living so that they, too, would want to become active and dedicated Catholics?
Or would people be turned off from the Catholic faith if they see in you the opposite of what Christ taught or observe, for instance, parish organizations becoming places of jealousies, intrigues and gossips? In his encyclical “Redemptoris Missio,” St. Pope John Paul II said: “People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers…The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of evangelization.”
SUPPORT VOCATIONS. One way of helping the Church to have more religious vocations is to support seminarians who are financially hard-up while undergoing their studies and formation.
Those who wish to help may chip in an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for one year. Remember: nothing is more noble than to nurture the vocation of future priests and bishops. For inquiry, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.