“I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” (Romans 1:16)
50 years in Your Word
February 4-10, 2013
Objective of the week: From the example of Paul’s life and purpose, we can endure suffering in persecutions as we embrace and carry out seriously the urgency of God’s mission to save his people from sin and danger through the preaching of the Gospel and by living it out.
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We are now on the third week of deepening our prayer centered on the life of St. Paul being a preacher, an apostle and teacher. Yes, he became all these for the love of Christ and his commitment to the mission that Christ commissioned him to do.
After we have prayed on the radical conversion of St. Paul and we have seen how he lived his life as an Apostle, we are now invited to reflect on how he carried out his mission to spread the Gospel.
At the very moment of the first encounter of St. Paul with Christ, we can already determine the urgency he had in living out the mission. Paul was on his journey, not asleep and dreaming when suddenly Jesus stopped him. It was Jesus who personally talked to Paul not an angel or a prophet. And Jesus immediately instructed Paul to get up and go into the city. Paul did not have time to eat and rest, because Jesus wants him to go on the mission with urgency.
What about you? When was your first encounter with Jesus? What did Jesus tell you? Did you allow Jesus to say something about your mission? How did you respond to it on the personal level and in your participation with the Verbum Dei Missionary Family?
50 Years in your Word…. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” God’s gift is not spirit of timidity but the Spirit of power, love and self-control!
Paul was conscious that he received the task to spread the good news as a gift from on high, not as a result of any merit of our own.
16 I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.
16 We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one man died for everyone, which means that they all share in his death. (2 Corinthians 5:14)
How often do you preach the Gospel? Is there something that prevents you to preach the Gospel?
Bear in mind that when we preach the Gospel we are bringing Jesus to the people. So don’t be ashamed of the Gospel, nor brag when we preach it. Instead, let the love of Jesus fills our hearts more and more for his love impels us to evangelize. Give the glory to God and not be the one being glorified.
Mission is urgent because it’s a vital need to proclaim Christ to the humanity. Only when we open ourselves to Christ, true freedom can be experienced.
1 Freedom is what we have. Christ has set us free. 13 As for you brothers you were called to be free (Galatians 5:1& 13)
17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Many of our brothers are enslaved by so many things, situations and people that lead them to a miserable life.
We have testified that we were freed because we have received Christ in our life.
It’s about time that we should be like Paul who offers the freedom of Christ. Not just once or twice, but every time the need arises.
Paul zealously dedicated his life to fulfilling Jesus’ commission to be His Apostle to the Gentiles with the same kind of tenacity he had first exhibited in prosecuting Christian believers. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of the harvest of souls.
19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the Gospel that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
What is that to you when nowadays many Catholics are attracted to other religion? Even to non-Catholics, would we not dare to preach the Gospel to them?
Remember, everyone has the right to hear and know the Good News and at the same time everyone is called to bring the Good News to all.
Are we not going to be like Paul who did everything for the sake of the Gospel?
Paul the Apostle underwent many persecutions, difficulties and challenges until arrested, judged and put to death, and so his life ended. But nothing nor anything stopped him from bringing the good news… to give life of Christ to others! He is moved by God’s desire that all men may be saved.
God wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)
23 I have worked much harder. I have been in prison more times, I have been whipped much more, and I have been near death more often. 24 Five times I was given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews; 25 three times I was whipped by the Romans; and once I was stoned. I have been in three shipwrecks, and once I spent twenty-four hours in the water. 26 In my many travels I have been in danger from floods and from robbers, in danger from my own people and from Gentiles; there have been danger in the cities, danger in the wilds, danger on the high seas, and dangers from false friends. 27 There has been work and toil; often I have gone without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty; I have often been without enough food, shelter, or clothing. 28 And not to mention other things, every day I am under the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 When someone is weak, then I feel weak too; when someone is led into sin, I am filled with distress. (2 Corinthians 11:23-29)
8 We are often troubled, but not crushed, sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are never destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
How far have we gone and what have we done so far in spreading the Good News?
Do we go to a mission only when it is convenient for us to do so? Only in places where it is safe for us to go? And only with those who make it easy for us to do so?
God called us and we responded to give our life to Him. Ask God to send us out to places and people where we would not want to be because it is there where we could experience the compassion and love of Christ.
Paul is convinced that each person is called to know the will of God.
1I urge you, then, brothers, remembering the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God; that is the kind of worship for you, as sensible people. 2 Do not model your behavior on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What is really the will of God for me?
Our first vocation is to do the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. Only when we obey the will of God faithfully we can discern more and more where God is leading us.
The vocation to priesthood, religious or missionary life, married or single are the concrete paths that God is providing us in order to carry out His will in our daily life.
It’s urgent to preach the Word because of the danger of the seasons: Anti-life, corruption, syncretism, broken families, fornication, wrong teaching.
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
What St Paul warned Timothy about the dangers of the seasons is actually happening now. And so, let the advice of St Paul to Timothy to keep on witnessing faithfully to the Gospel, happen as well. Let us commit ourselves to preach the Gospel untiringly and whole heartedly.
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 138: 1-8
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
Gospel Reading: Luke 5: 1-11
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.