"Therefore let us go on toward perfection…"
January 20-26, 2014
Objective of the week:
1. To grow more in our hope for Jesus.
2. To be one in our projection towards the future of our Verbum Dei Family.
Last week, we have been praying on the ‘humility of Jesus to learn’ as He went through the process of knowing the will of the Father. We were invited to live this same humility to learn from Him how he accompanies the Verbum Dei Family in her growth.
Let us journey together as a Family this week towards how Christ envisions Verbum Dei and her projection in the future. What is the vision of Jesus towards the future of Verbum Dei? We are in this new stage of our Family, and in every stage, the Holy Spirit is the one who guides the way. Openness to the Holy Spirit is required from us. Where is the Spirit leading us?
We are an evangelizing community. This is our goal. We aim that we as a Family can be evangelizers in the world of today. We are part of the new evangelization that the Holy Spirit is leading the whole Church. The Holy Spirit is leading the Church to who she really is – as evangelizer.
In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”…(Evangelii Gaudium – Pope Francis)
With this perspective, we are invited this week to have the same hope of Jesus towards the same vision he has for Verbum Dei.
Openness to newness
The work of evangelization enriches the mind and the heart; it opens up spiritual horizons; it makes us more and more sensitive to the workings of the Holy Spirit, and it takes us beyond our limited spiritual constructs. A committed missionary knows the joy of being a spring which spills over and refreshes others. Only the person who feels happiness in seeking the good of others, in desiring their happiness, can be a missionary. This openness of the heart is a source of joy, since “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
(Evangelii Gaudium 272)
21 No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. 22 And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine into fresh skins!'
We are in this new stage of our Family Verbum Dei. Indeed the Holy Spirit is bringing us always to this newness. He is the one who brings freshness in our Family, providing us with new wine – a fresh experience of His love so that we can refresh the lives of others. Through the work of evangelization, we become more open to this newness – opening our spiritual horizons and hope.
Evangelization is the task of the Church.
The Church, as the agent of evangelization, is more than an organic and hierarchical institution; she is first and foremost a people advancing on its pilgrim way towards God.
(Evangelii Gaudium 111)
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.'
We are an evangelizing community. This is our aim and our hope for Verbum Dei. Our hope is that everyone can be actively engaged in evangelization. This is everybody’s task and this is our way to be closer towards God in this pilgrimage. We have experienced the love of God in one way or another and it is our duty to proclaim all what we have received. People deserve to encounter Jesus through us.
Explicit proclamation of Christ
“there can be no true evangelization
without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord”, and without “the primacy of the proclamation of Jesus Christ in all evangelizing work”.
(Evangelii Gaudium 110)
13 He now went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him 14 and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15 with power to drive out devils.
17 After all, Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel; and not by means of wisdom of language, wise words which would make the cross of Christ pointless. 18 The message of the cross is folly for those who are on the way to ruin, but for those of us who are on the road to salvation it is the power of God
(1 Corinthians 1:17-18)
Evangelization cannot be true without the proclamation of the Word of God – Jesus himself. This is our charism and mission. This is what we have been called to live as a Family. Our hope then is that the Word of God can reach the hearts of everyone through our preaching.
I will make you into evangelizers
“It is important always to know that the first word, the true initiative, the true activity comes from God and only by inserting ourselves into the divine initiative, only begging for this divine initiative, shall we too be able to become – with him and in him – evangelizers”.
17 From then onwards Jesus began his proclamation with the message, 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' 18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.' 20 And at once they left their nets and followed him.
Evangelization is first of all a divine gift and initiative. He is the one who will make us become true evangelizers. It is also the way in which we become one with him and in him, for Jesus himself was an evangelizer.
Hope as a secure anchor towards the future
So then, now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 it is through him, by faith, that we have been admitted into God's favour in which we are living, and look forward exultantly to God's glory. 3 Not only that; let us exult, too, in our hardships, understanding that hardship develops perseverance, 4 and perseverance develops a tested character, something that gives us hope, 5 and a hope which will not let us down, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
It’s best not to confuse optimism with hope. Optimism is a psychological attitude towards life. Hope goes further: It is an anchor that one hurls towards the future; it’s what lets you pull on the line and reach what you’re aiming for and head in the right direction.
19 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered,…
8 Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be forever.
As we look and move forward towards the future, we don’t just look blindly ahead, but we have hope in Jesus as our secure anchor. In the middle of our daily hardships, His love that has been poured in our hearts, gives us the assurance and hope for what lies ahead.
Giving reasons to our hope
15 Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. 16 But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations.
(1 Peter 3:15-16)
23 Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. 25 Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do, but encourage each other; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.
As a Family, we are not just called to hope individually, but to express what we hope for with our words and our lives. Our daily concern for each other and our encouragement for one another shows that our hope is real. Through this, we bring also hope to the people around us and in all what seems to be hopeless situations.
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
First reading: Isaiah 8:23-9:3
Responsorial psalm: Psalm 27
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.