Wednesday of the 25th Week of the Year

Luke 9:1-6

The Mission of the Twelve

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

It would be impossible today to implement in the Church the advice of Jesus by making it a rule. I think Jesus was not giving fixed rules here to be followed until the end of time. He was rather presenting an image of an attitude his disciples should have. He would not agree to tear down all church buildings and institutions. But he urges those who have work in and for such institutions not to seek security there but to put all their trust in him alone. Mission and apostolate built on institutional securities only are contrary to Christ’s idea and plan. A Benedictine once said: “We started the abbey to run the school and now the school runs the abbey.”

In our apostolate as religious or lay persons who have to think seriously about this matter. Parishes are often beautifully organized. I visited once a parish priest. The first thing he did was to bring me to the parish hall where the whole wall was covered with an organizational chart. God, the parish was organized! There was no loophole for anybody to escape. Yes, things ran smoothly. I attended some meetings of parish organizations. Again, they were perfectly organized. But observing the life in the parish I felt there wasn’t much life. It was rather like a machine smoothly running. The breath of the Holy Spirit, the adventure of not trusting in things of the world, in organization and institution but in Christ alone was absent.

Jesus envisioned a simple mission. In this simplicity the power of God’s moving Spirit can be experienced. Don’t speak out against organizations and institutions, but in your own apostolate, risk something. Become vulnerable so that the Holy Spirit can take over. After all, it is not you but Christ who is in charge of the mission of His church. (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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One of my aunts asked me, “Magmisyonero ka? Di pupunta ka ng Africa?” This question is not different from the comment of my childhood friend. She said: “Pang-export ka pala kasi misyonero!” Then she added: “Are missions for missionaries alone?”

In this gospel, the word “mission” clearly pertains to the sending of the disciples to evangelize territories that do not know and recognize Him. In other words, situation has a say to the meaning of mission. It shapes the concept of mission. At present Mother Church teaches that mission is not only going to pagan territories to evangelize but also to situations in need of re-evangelization. And she clearly defines that mission is everybody’s mission. It is the mission of those who follow Jesus the Christ.

As members of the Church, do we bother to participate in her mission? Do we contribute for its fullness? Or do we leave our duties to church ministers and workers and blame them if they do not perform well? Or are we simply indifferent?

One does not need to go outside one’s house to proclaim Jesus as Lord. One can start the evangelization in one’s home. (Frt. Ross P. Heruela, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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When he sent out his apostles for a mission Christ said: “Take nothing for the journey.” It does not mean not bringing anything at all. It means that they have to live simply.

However simplicity opens a can of questions especially when it comes to material accessories. What is enough? When is enough, enough? What is necessary or unnecessary? What is essential and non-essential?

“Take nothing for the journey” as you go proclaiming the good news. Why? Because your feet, your hands, your heart, YOU, will do the proclaiming, YOU are more than enough, essential and necessary. (Sr. Weng, SSpS Bible Diary 2006)

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When I decided to resign from my good-paying job in Makati to enter the seminary, I had a lot of people to worry about: my parents who were expecting financial support from me, my younger sister who I sent to college and my two younger brother who were still in high school and elementary. Eight years after, on the eve of my ordination day, my sister-in-law told me that from the time I entered the seminary, the family received a lot of blessings. They were able to survive the hardships brought about by financial problems. This testimony gave me more joy and courage to receive priestly ordination the following day, and more strength to face whatever hardships my mission entails.

In today’s gospel, Jesus instructed His disciples to take nothing on the journey while proclaiming God’s Kingdom. He exhorted them to rely on God and not on their own efforts. Twelve years of my priestly life were full of struggles and challenges. I survived because he always assured me of His presence and continued to generously pour tremendous blessings on me and my family. In fact, He doubled His blessings when my youngest brother was also ordained an SVD missionary priest two years ago.

Have faith in God; have total trust in Him. He will do the rest. He did it to us and our family. He will also do the same to you. (Fr. Jun Rebayla, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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I had a barrio Mass and it was running late. It was raining hard and the one and half hour hike took three hours. I was not aware a typhoon was on the way! The final approach was a 100-meter hike down a steep slope and the trail was….full of water! So the only way down was to sit on whatever you could find and slide on the muddy waters. On the way down I realized that if your missed the sharp curve you’d land in the rampaging river! Anusam bagi ta kinayatmo agpadi! (Bear with it for you chose to become a priest). I don’t think that situation ever came up in theology classes.

Jesus gave the apostles simple instructions, not on theology, not even on preaching, when He sent them on a mission. Rather, Jesus gave instructions on practical matters, on stressing that the medium is the message. It is not what you say as much as how you bring the message.

Jesus chose to keep it small and low key. He advised them to use simple terms, base it on their experience but above all trust in God. You can never prepare for all situations but be prepared rather to use the situation the people are experiencing to concretize the good news. As the old lay leader remarked when he saw us sliding down the muddy waters: “Apo, you have already preached your sermon!” (Fr. Bobby Jimenez, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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When the much-vaunted ocean vessel Titanic set sail across the Atlantic, most of the passengers had spent many days preparing for this journey of a lifetime. Passengers brought along what they considered necessary including a wide array of jewelry collections, furniture, artwork and even servants. When that fateful disaster struck, one of the rich passengers made her way to the life rafts. Just before embarking, she remembered something in her room she thought she might need. Elbowing herself past the crowds and stewards she fought her way back to her cabin. Brushing aside many of her most valuable possessions, she reached for the one item she knew could be of ultimate importance for the journey ahead – an orange.

“take nothing for your journey,” this is probably the most controversial command of the Christian missionary enterprise. The pragmatist in us would like to think that Jesus would say, “Take some snacks along; gather your assets; launch some fundraising; bring your own tent and sleeping bag; pack some extra clothing; and bring a nice gift for those with whom you will stay.” Instead, He tells the disciples to walk with faith – to go in need of other people people’s help. How are they going to make it without any provisions at all? They would have to depend upon those to whom they are sent. Relying on the mercy of others means they are ultimate relying on the mercy of the One who sent them. They simply cannot do this on their own. Otherwise, they might think they are superstars instead of humble servants. Mission is God’s mission. We are just messengers dependent upon His providential care; the power and authority come from Him, not from us.

What unnecessary baggage have you lugged along in your past journeys? What is of ultimate importance for your continuing Christian journey ahead? Orange, anyone? (Fr. Oliver Quilab, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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…..In today’s gospel, Jesus called His apostles together and sent them to a mission. As Catholic Christians, we can learn from the gospel the four basic attitudes that a missionary should have. First is the attitude of being a messenger. That means we are sent by someone. The power and authority are coming from the sender. Second is the attitude of being a message-bearer. That means we are sent for a mission. Jesus sent his apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Third is the attitude of being a simple worker. That means we must bring only what we need in doing our ministry. Jesus instructed his apostles, “Take nothing for your journey.” Reliance on God’s providence is seen in the simplicity of lifestyle. And last is the attitude of being a positive thinker. That means we should accept and learn from rejection, suffering, and failures. Alphonse Karr would say: “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” (Fr. Ferdinand Alfante SVD Bible Diary 2014).

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Jesus does not merely preach the reign of God, but challenges the apostles to live its reality. He wants them to realize that God does not abandon his people. In our own lives, let us keep in mind that the same good and caring God who liberated Israel from Egypt, will also provide for our needs. God does not forget. We can be confident and trusting. God is like a nurturing mother whose love is faithful and life-giving. Jesus is not advocating imprudence or presumption. He is challenging us to trust in God’s abiding love.

The apostles must also learn to trust in the generosity of the community. The Christian life is not for people who want to live all by themselves in isolation. We are interdependent. Jesus sends his apostles to rely on the hospitality offered by the local community. They are to be satisfied with what is offered.

The apostles and the local community share in the work of the kingdom of God. This applies to our parishes and Christian communities. Priests and laity have to lovingly work together in common for the spreading of God’s kingdom. The bottom line is this: we can trust others because we can trust God. God can be relied upon to bring life from death, hope in the face of despair and grace in greater abundance than sin.

The world teaches us to be a self-reliant and in total control. The world tells us to pull our own strings and be suspicious of others. Such is not to be the case with the followers of Jesus. The Christian is not consumed by worldly cares and anxieties. In the words of St. Paul: “All that matters is that one is created anew.”

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Today’s readings took me in a different direction each time returned to them.

I had an easier time with the reading from Ezra before I read it in context. Initially I saw it as an Old Testament version of St. Paul talking about the demons inside.

Looking back to the preceding passage I discovered the great transgression which Ezra was discussing was intermarriage. I remember when I called my parents to let them know that I was getting married. The first questions that my mother asked were “Is she Catholic?”, “What is her nationality?” and “Does she speak English?” (Although the answers from my new Swiss Catholic fiancé who was living in England pleased my mother who was of Swiss descent, I have a feeling that I will have a different set of questions when I get the equivalent phone call from my son.) I can understand Ezra’s context, but I find other threats to our connection with our God which are more pressing in today’s world.

I prefer reading the passage from Ezra as a lesson in the importance of maintaining our character. The distractions in our world have taken a different form. We can be led astray by the world we live in. We are easily pulled away from what is important. When distracted it is not hard to lose focus. Ezra talks of the “remnant”, those who have maintained their character. We are confronted on the large scale. How do we respond collectively as a society? I find it difficult to discern where our candidates for public office really stand and who is credible. Identifying “true” character is a challenge when I see to what extent public images are manipulated. I even question requests from charitable organizations as I receive requests from professional telemarketers. On a daily basis I find challenges to the “remnant” from commercial advertising that almost always tries to seduce our society with the attractiveness of the superficial and transient. (My son turned twenty-one this week. I trust that his character will not be altered by his new freedom. He faces challenges that are much more explicit than I faced at a similar age.)

The Gospel follows with a missioning and a call for detachment from the things of this world. Jesus is summoning his followers to continue his work. He is calling them to be part of the “remnant”. He is asking for trust, but even more He is drawing his followers’ focus to the tasks and trials at hand and away from the distractions of the world.

My prayer today is for support in our quest. I pray for the Lord’s assistance in maintaining character both as an individual and as a society. I ask for the desire of the things that are worth desiring. (Michael Cherney)

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The word for today is ‘nothing.’ In the first reading, Ezra, who was great and holy man, knelt before God when he was confronted with the sins of his countrymen. They were just liberated from Babylon, when they began bickering, having jealous arguments and plotting against one another.

Ezra was so ashamed about what his countrymen were doing, that he knelt down before God and prayed. His prayer is what you heard in the first reading. What does the prayer say? It says: “Lord, we are nothing. We are a people with nothing and we are here not because we have something, but because you have looked at us with favor.”

Ezra recognized his nothingness. Ezra recognized the nothingness of his countrymen. It was only then that they discovered happiness again.

The gospel also speaks about happiness – a happiness that is rooted in nothingness.

Nothingness is not in the pocket. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into thinking that in order to get rid of our loneliness and sadness, we have to spend. We go shopping or eat to our hearts’ content at restaurants: The wealthy go to Hong Kong or Singapore. Those who cannot afford trips abroad, go to the provinces such as Palawan or Boracay and so on and so forth.

The Lord tells us that you cannot depend on what is in your pocket in order to be happy.

In order to be happy, what is important is that we open our hearts to what the Lord can give us.

In other words, for us to grow in our spiritual life like Ezra, we must acknowledge we are nothing. For us to grow in happiness, we must make sure our hearts can be full.

What St. Peter cured the crippled man at the beautiful gate in the Acts of the Apostles, he said: “Gold and silver I have none. But in the name of Jesus Christ, I bid you to rise up and walk.”

The crippled man was able to rise up and walk because Peter was speaking from the wealth of his heart.

There are so many crippled men and women but we cannot make them walk because we can no longer say, ‘gold and silver I have none.’

Brothers and sisters, to be happy, you do not need anything. In fact to be happy, we must be nothing before God. To be happy, you do not need anything in your pocket. You only need a heart full of God to be happy. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus Loves You, pp. 187-188)

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There seems to be a gap between the mission to which Jesus sends His apostles and the directions He gives to fulfil this mission. Here He sends them out with what is surely the most important task ever given to anyone. To bring people to God, while telling them to take nothing with them, not even food or money! Of course, with reflection, we realize why Jesus did this: to teach the apostles that they are to rely totally on God. It is only with faith and trust in God that they will be successful. (John Seland, SVD, Reflections on the Daily Gospels, p. 156)

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In these missionary instructions, the Lord sends the Twelve to receive some “hands on” experience in preaching the Word and continuing the ministry. The instructions are geared towards achieving the widest possible dissemination of word and ministry. The simplicity of lifestyle that Jesus requires is a combination of strategy, custom and trust in God. It is a great grace to us that missionaries were sent to the homes of our ancestors to preach the gospel. Were it not for those poor and frequently martyred messengers of the gospel, armed only with the Lord’s word, the wealthy and prosperous parishes we find in our country would not exist. This expansionist thrust of the Church to reach out is not only geographical. It also requires us to thrust deeper into the faith we have received and to intensify our experience as the community of the Lord. Our own realization of the gift of faith should enable us to contribute toward those missionaries who now carry the faith elsewhere. (Rev. S. Joseph Krempa, Daily Homilies Ordinary Time (1), p. 172)

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Listening to the radio this morning, I heard an inspirational line being shared. “The secret of success is not in doing all you can do, but in looking for the right man to do the work.” Success in mission – beyond diligence – means delegating, that is, sharing the workload with a team. There are three ways of “sharing the workload:”

  • Dumping. The leader unloads a task, happy of being relieved of the burden. The leader does not care whether the people who receive the task are properly trained and prepared; the leader’s focus is simple on getting rid of the task.
  • Delegating. The leader prepares ahead of time, then he plans out how to best give the work away to the right person. But the leader still focuses on eliminating the task, not on building the people.
  • Developing. This is the Christ-like way of sharing the work. The leader prepares the people who will take on the work (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New every Morning New Everyday, p. 285)

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Our gospel highlights how Jesus “developed” the men with whom he shared responsibility and authority:

  • Motivation: he called them together (v. 1).
  • Impartation: He empowered them and gave them authority (v. 1).
  • Delegation:  He sent them out with a mandate to do the job (v. 2).
  • Communication: He gave them specific directions (vv. 3-5).
  • Encouragement: He assured them of His support (vv. 4-5).
  • Evaluation: He held them accountable when they finished (v. 10). (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, p. 285).

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September 26, 2012

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
(OptM) RED

Wednesday of the 25th Week
GREEN

Prv 30:5-9
Ps 119
Lk 9:1-6

The Mission of the Twelve

1[Jesus] summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Reflection:

Take nothing for the journey. To render hospitality to strangers and travelers is part of Middle Eastern culture. In the Bible, in the case of Abraham, hospitality to the stranger is equated with welcoming God. To refuse a man hospitality in the harsh desert conditions is to let him die. And biblical people know that the mistreatment of strangers is a sure way to incur divine displeasure.

In such a culture, Jesus sends the Twelve. Absolute detachment is required of them. They must have complete reliance on divine providence. God will provide for their needs through a culture of hospitality. In places where the apostles preach, people who show positive response to God’s message must also show hospitality to the messengers.

God truly never stops to give us what we need in life. We have a duty to share with each other what we have. God’s messengers must not concern themselves with material gain or wealth. They are called to be simple and to shun luxury. Earthly comforts and rewards should not compromise or distract the motives of service and sacrifice to people. God is the source of mission; God is its reward.

How do we detach ourselves from material things and attach ourselves wholeheartedly to Jesus?
How do we treat material wealth in view of the Gospel proclamation and values?

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1978-september-26-2012

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Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time (Year B) – Lucas 9:1-6. Para asa man ang kahibalo, katakos ug gahom nga gihatag sa Ginoo kanato? Diha sa ebanghelyo atong nasayran nga ang mga tinun-an gihatagan ni Jesus og gahom ug awtoridad dili para gamiton sa ilang kaayohan lamang, dili aron sa pagpasigarbo sa ilang kaugalingon, ug dili aron sa pagdagmal og laing tawo. Hinoon, gihatagan silag katakos aron pag-ayo sa mga masakiton, pagpahawa sa mga daotang espiritu ug sa pagpatunhay sa Gingharian sa Dios. Aduna akoy mga higala nga mga panday. Andam sila motrabaho nga walay sweldo kada Sabado aron maghimo’g balay para sa mga kabos. Pagkanindot unta kon adunay mga doktor, abogado, ug uban pang propesyonal nga motrabaho nga dili magpabayad – bisan usa lang ka adlaw matag semana – para sa mga kabos. (Fr. Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2012/09/wednesday-of-25th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

WEDNESDAY OF THE 25TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 9:1-6. PARA ASA MAN ANG GAHOM, KAHIBALO, UG KATAKOS NGA GIHATAG SA GINOO KANATO? Ang mga tinun-an gihatagan ni Hesus og gahom ug katakos dili aron gamiton sa ilang kaayohan lamang, dili sa pagpasigarbo sa kaugalingon, ug dili sa pagdagmal og laing tawo. Gihatag kini ni Hesus aron ilang gamiton sa pag-ayo sa mga masakiton, pagpahawa sa mga daotang espiritu ug pagpatunhay sa Gingharian sa Dios. Aduna akoy mga higalang panday nga motrabaho matag Sabado, nga dili magpasuhol, aron sa paghimo’g mga balay sa kabos. Pagkanindot unta kon adunay mga doktor, abogado, ug ubang mga propesyonal nga motrabaho nga dili usab magpabayad – bisan usa lang ka adlaw kada semana – para sa mga kabos ug maluyahon. Si Pablo Picasso nag-ingon, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/09/wednesday-of-25th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Mine: As missionaries, we are called to uphold and respect life in all its forms and stages, to care for Mother Earth, to make justice, peace and integrity of creation, a way of life rather than making ourselves instruments of destruction because of what we have done against life and creation. This expression, “Action speaks louder than words,” should be the flagship of Christians like us. Therefore, our example and good deeds count much more than what we say.

I know of some carpenters, electricians and other ordinary workers in one of the parishes I was assigned before who worked for free once a week and not asking any honorarium or salary in order to finish a particular project of the parish. How I wish to see doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, administrators, politicians and big businessmen, priests and religious, wealthy people and other professionals who work for free even just once a week, carrying wheelbarrows, spades, holding hammers and other physical works, for a particular project intended for the poor. If we want a better world, then with God’s help may we reflect in our life what Mahatma Gandhi advocated: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” and in other people.

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  1. 3: Jesus wants the 12 Apostles to possess the TQM: Trust in the divine Providence and not on their provisions. Quality of life as instrument of credibility. Mobility with the least stuffs to move around and go to places quickly. Preach by word and example. Be simple (Fr. Ching OP)

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UNCOMPLICATED: And he sent them… – Luke 9:2

“Father, do you think I should become a priest?” I asked my friend, a priest.

“Do you want to become a priest?” he asked in reply.

“No,” I said, “I just thought that I should become one.” I was 21 and doing full-time ministry work as a preacher and pastor of sorts. Priesthood seemed a logical option. “Actually,” I continued, “I want to get married.”

“Then get married,” he told me. “If God calls you to a vocation, He will put the desire in you.”

That conversation set me at ease. I never truly understood what religious people meant when they talked about calling, vocation, or having a vision for your life. It felt so pie-in-the-sky, as though God didn’t want most people to know His will.

But when I heard my priest friend say the word “desire,” I felt a weight come off my shoulders. Desire was simple. I knew exactly what I desired: to be a husband, a father, a creator, a fun-loving, people person. Now, many years later, I am married with two kids. I help run a startup business, and spend a lot of time moving about a growing circle of friends. I serve God by trying to live an exemplary life in these places — and let my life speak for itself. It wasn’t so complicated after all. Kiddo Cosio (twitter.com/kiddocosio)

Reflection: Christian theologian and author Frederick Buechner once said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Think about that.

Dear God, please help me live out Your call for my life.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-09-24

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1ST READING: We should never pray for an over-abundance of anything unless our objective is to give it all away to the poor. Why does anyone need more than they can use? What we need to learn to do is to seek what we need and not just what we want. I like the old saying which sums up this attitude: “Live simply so that others may simply live!” In other words, do not seek consumption for consumption’s sake as you may be using something that is essential to another’s needs. Proverbs 30:5-9

GOSPEL: Trust in God. This must become the mantra of our lives. If it does, then there is very little that will be capable of deflecting us from the will of God. Trusting in Him may sound a boring recipe for life but it is not. We like to talk about action movies and stunt men and so on. I say, take a taste of Gospel living and you will never crave for excitement again. Following Christ has been one big adventure for me. Luke 9:1-6

think:  Trust in God. This must become the mantra of our lives.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-09-24

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AUTHORITY AND POWER: As part of our training as seminarians, we were sent out on mission to local parishes in the country. We were asked to find our own way to the destination, which involved hitchhiking at times. We were totally dependent on the hospitality and support of the locals as we preached the Kingdom of God. It was a radical call for a young group of seminarians.

Jesus sends out His disciples on a road trip — to proclaim the Kingdom of God. It was a missionary endeavor totally dependent on God’s provisions and the goodness of the people. Just as Jesus Himself felt the urgency to proclaim the Kingdom and trust in the Father, the disciples were sent out likewise. Jesus gave them His own authority and His power. In one instance, the disciples returned to Jesus filled with joy at their efforts and seeing the power of God working in their midst. God can do wonderful things through a people committed to His works. Francis called his men to do the same — to preach the Gospel, to beg for provision, and seek the Lord at all times. Most of us will not be called to act like this but we do have admiration for those who live out this way of life, totally dependent on the provision of God.

We are all called to be dependent on God. We are called to be open to the work of the Lord in our midst. We may not be itinerant preachers, as the Gospel shows us today, but in our own way and state of life we are called to proclaim and advance the Kingdom of God. A helping hand or a kind smile can work wonders to those who need encouragement and help in their lives. In doing this, we are advancing the Kingdom of God. Let us call on the name of the Lord and be open to His power and His authority. Our identity is found in Him who loves us and empowers us in our daily lives and works. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: How can you advance the Kingdom of God in the different areas of your life — school, home, family, relationships?

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-09-24

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Jesus sends out the Twelve. Preach and heal!” President Woodrow Wilson once said: “No one can love an empty stomach.” His point is an important one: we are made up of body and soul.

To address the soul without addressing the body is to ignore reality. In other words, we can’t talk to people of heavenly things if we don’t talk to them, also, earthly things. the two go hand in hand for the simple reason that we are body and soul.

This is why Jesus instructed his disciples to “preach and heal.” They must attend to both the spiritual needs and the physical needs of the people.

What are we doing to help not only those who are starving spiritually, but also those who are starving physically?

Lord, help us address the whole person. Help us realize that for every talent that hunger and pain stimulate they snuff out a hundred others. (Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Weekdays, Mumbai: St. Pauls, 2003:229)

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Wednesday of the 25th Week in the Ordinary Time

JESUS SENDS OUT THE TWELVE DISCIPLES: PRACTICAL TIPS FOR MSSION: Jesus trained his disciples how to continue his mission even when he was alive by giving them practical tips. In today’s Gospel passage we can see two important tips.

To be satisfied with the minimum facilities

Jesus wants that his disciples should not be concerned too much about comforts. That is why he advised them to be satisfied with the minimum facilities and conveniences. If a disciple is preoccupied with his/her comfort the mission could be at the receiving end. This does not mean that the disciples should not make use of the modern facilities and technologies for the fulfilment of their mission. The modern facilities and technologies like information technology could be of immense use for the effectiveness of the mission. But sometimes it is noticed that these facilities are made use for the comfort and convenience of the missionaries and not for the people and the mission.

Information technology plays a significant role in the lives of the people today. It provides access to variety of learning sources and makes learning possible anytime and anywhere. It helps in gathering authentic and up to date information by providing access to online libraries. Teaching of different subjects is made interesting because of information technology. In short it is an opening to the ever expanding world of knowledge.

Relevant Interventions

Jesus instructed his disciples very clearly that they should not waste their time and energy where people do not respond positively to their message in spite of their best efforts to make the mission relevant to the people. “Wherever people do not welcome you, leave that town and shake the dust off your feet as a warning to them”. There is no point in hanging on to a place where the people do not need the services of the disciples of Jesus. It has been observed that in the mission dioceses sometimes institutions are started without making a proper need assessment. A congregation or a diocese decides to open an institution as a part of its expansion plan without looking into the needs of the people of an area. As a result the institution becomes irrelevant and the missionaries involved in the institution become discontented. In spite of knowing that the institution is not serving any purpose, the authorities often do not have the courage to close it down.

Sometimes a few persons or a section of the society may oppose the interventions of the disciples of Jesus because these interventions may negatively affect their vested interests. In such cases the disciples are expected to face the opposition instead of leaving the place. For example the disciples of Jesus may organize the poor people into Self Help Groups to save money and take loans in emergency from their own collective savings instead of depending on the money lenders. Naturally the interest of the money lenders will be adversely affected and they may try to defeat the efforts of the disciples of Jesus.

Need assessment before starting any interventions and periodic evaluation of interventions and institutions are essential to make the mission of the disciples relevant and effective.

Jacob Peenikaparambil

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2014-09-24

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September 23, 2015

Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Ezr 9:5-9, Lk 9:1-6

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) Priest

Today we celebrate the memorial of a fairly recent, Italian, Franciscan saint, who was popularly known as Padre Pio. He is one of the world’s most popular saints. It is estimated that there are more than 3,000 “Padre Pio Prayer Groups” worldwide, with three million members. Padre Pio summed up his spirituality for his friends as follows: pregare, sperare, e non preoccupare (Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry). He became famous for bearing the stigmata. It is said that he was endowed with several extraordinary powers, including the gifts of healing, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and nourishment, and the fragrance from his wounds. Because of the supernatural gifts attributed to Padre Pio and the controversies regarding their genuineness the Church authorities subjected him to numerous investigations. The Vatican even imposed severe sanctions on Padre Pio to reduce publicity about him. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of 81. After much apprehensions and assessments his sanctity was officially approved by the Church on 16, June 2002 by St John Paul II.

In today’s first reading we heard Ezra acknowledging the failure of Israel and its outcome. Very often trials and tribulations are the best eye-openers. When everything goes well, we have a tendency to take life for granted. Sentiments of gratitude can give way to a mind-set of entitlement and arrogance. St Paul acknowledges this fact when he said, “So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh” (2Cor 12:7). Padre Pio was gifted with numerous supernatural blessings. To keep him grounded God seems to have permitted lots of sufferings as well. St Peter reminds us, “Friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1Pet 4:12-13). In today’s Gospel we find Jesus preparing his apostles for their mission telling them not to carry too much luggage on their way. Because what we possess can gradually possess us. Many of our institutions are now possessed by their possessions. At present the main concern or preoccupation of those who are at the helm of those institutions is how to keep them. Obesity affects not only people but also institutions. Those who gather too much have to suffer too much to support and sustain them – that is the law of nature. The best policy is to share the blessings we are entrusted with. Do not cling, shake off the dust and move on. Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-09-23

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 25th Week of the Year

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