Homily for Monday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time | Please click here for the readings.
Preaching the Gospel is never easy. There have certainly been times in my own life when I have experienced that, even recently. As we have just heard, Jesus also experienced that difficulty in proclaiming the Truth. The message that Jesus was preaching was difficult for the people to hear. The individuals in His home town, the people who knew Him the best, could not accept what He was saying. As a result, they rose up and drove Him to the edge of a cliff to literally throw Him down to His death. Despite knowing what they were going to do, Jesus continued to proclaim the Truth, never ceased sharing the Good News and did not refuse to challenge others to a different way of thinking. Even though it would conclude with His Passion on the Cross, Jesus persevered in calling the people of His time to conversion, to repentance, and to deeper relationship with the Father.
We are called to do the very same thing, especially right now. Our country is quite literally at a breaking point. Any which way you look at it, the picture seems so bleak. Our fellow Americans need to hear a message of hope, they need to hear a message of Truth. As Christians, it is our responsibility to go out and remind them that there is no individual person on earth who is going to save us from the issues and challenges that our world faces. We already have a Savior…His name is Jesus. He is the one that we are called to go out and to bring to others. We are called to never waver in our determination and our commitment to make Jesus known in the world. This is why the end of Matthew’s Gospel, the very last line reads: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
This responsibility does not just fall on the clergy. Although bishops, priests, and deacons do play a pivotal role in that. But ALL of us are called to be those prophetic voices that point others to Christ. We are called to teach what Jesus said, live our lives by following His example, and call on the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way. We can never fall short of that responsibility. And, like Jesus’ experience, like many of the saints who have gone before us, carrying out that task will not always be easy. People will hate us. People will call us names. People may even want to physically hurt us. But we must never waver. Today, may God give us the courage to go out and boldly proclaim the Gospel.