June 13, 2023 at 3:11 p.m.
We are called and then sent
The kerygma we are to proclaim is that the kingdom of God is at hand, and we are sent to go forth and baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
WORD OF FAITH: A breakdown of each week's upcoming Sunday readings to better understand the Word of God at Mass.
“At the sight of the crowds, Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt. 9:36)
Jesus’ heart was moved with pity, the Sacred Heart of Jesus whose solemnity we celebrate on June 16, reveals the outpouring of Christ’s love for humanity. Jesus communicates his love in his passion, death and resurrection. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reveals this passion, this love for humanity. He infuses his passion, his love, in each of us from the moment of our baptism, which is our first invitation to being called to the moment when we finally accept the calling by going to where the Lord is sending us.
The humanity of Jesus is revealed in his emotional response; his heart was moved with pity. What was his response to this emotion? “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so, ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for the harvest.’ ” (Matt. 9:37) Jesus’ response is to send laborers who have hearts that are configured to Jesus. Jesus gives this instruction to the Twelve because they are being sent first to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the people of Israel.
When Jesus sends the Twelve to all the nations when he commissions them prior to his Ascension, he tells them to teach all to “observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20) They are being sent forth for a laborious and difficult task, but the Risen One will be with them until the universal call to salvation is completed.
Just as Jesus revealed that his heart was filled with pity for humanity when he sent forth the Twelve, Jesus reveals that he will always be present to his disciples as they are sent forth to announce the glory of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ presence until the end of the age, reveals the Church’s mission to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The mission to share the universal call to salvation with all the nations of the world requires us to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship with Christ is communicated through the power of the Holy Spirit and the oneness of the relationship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is given to us as well.
How do we share in the oneness of God? In the word proclaimed, and in the sacrament received, Jesus’ Body and Blood. The Israelites were given a foreshadowing of the closeness of God as we hear in the First Reading this Sunday from Exodus 19:2-6a, “Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” For us, this relationship is first brought about through the waters of baptism. For in baptism, we share in the three-fold ministry of Jesus Christ, priest, prophet and king. As God’s priestly, we are made into a holy nation, a people set apart. This knowledge brings us great joy as Psalm 100:1-2 reminds us, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song.” As the people of Israel are God’s chosen people, we too in baptism are his adopted children through the blood of the cross in which we share in the waters of baptism.
In the Second Reading from Romans 5:6-11, Paul tells us how this relationship was forged in the blood of the lamb. “Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” This is the proclamation the reconfigured Twelve would take to all the nations, this is known as the kerygma of the Church. That kerygma we are to proclaim is that the kingdom of God is at hand, and we are sent to go forth and baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You have been called and you have been sent!