by Rev. Fr. Dr. P. C. Eapen
Gospel Reading: St. Mathew 10:5-16)
At a time when the entire Church is getting ready for the observance of the 13 day lent instituted in commemoration of the Apostles of Christ, our Savior, the lesson from St. Mathew Chapter Ten verses five to sixteen seems to be quite relevant, appropriate and meaningful for us to ponder over. Here Jesus Christ reiterates the mission of the Twelve Disciples whom he chose for the extension of His Ministry.
Let us try to understand as to what it means to be a disciple? A disciple is one who maintains close proximity to the teacher and imbibes his philosophy and life style in day to day living. In the present context Christ Jesus is the Teacher who chose His disciples and authorized them to pursue Christian evangelism. Preaching and healing are the significant responsibilities Christ bestowed upon His disciples. "As you go preach, saying, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, Heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses--- - for the workman is worthy of his meat. (Mat.10:7-10)
What are we in our present generation try to make of this assurance Christ has given us? The need of the hour is to accept God's rule where we are and let Him work through us. When we let God thus work through us, more can be accomplished than we could hope or dream.
In the name of mission and evangelization one has to give credence to the essence of Christ's teaching. There are three conditions of discipleship. They are:- self denial, bearing one's cross and obedience.
Self denial means much more than making sacrifices. It requires one to give up particular interests and possessions. It certainly is a demand for a radical reorientation of life with self no longer the center. Jesus is demanding that we think habitually of others, only remembering ourselves occasionally.
On bearing one's cross, the general tendency seems to be in favor of escaping or running away from bearing the cross. Self denial and bearing the cross are futile unless we follow Jesus by adhering closely to his teachings and by by taking his yoke upon us and learn of him. Self denial and bearing the cross have to be done for Christ's sake. Fidelity to the teachings of our Lord demands self denial and a readiness to bear one's own cross. The disciples showed us the way for salvation through Christ and let us follow His foot steps.
In sharp contrast to what Christ demonstrated through his life and practiced by the Apostles in their lives, those of us who claim to be true followers of Christ, probably under the influence of modernization and westernization, have become so narrowly self centered that we tend to ignore the poor and needy and are indifferent to the needs of others. How can we remain comfortable when other human beings live in atrocious conditions? This is the paradox of our present day world.
Divine love makes us want to give all - and even if our all is very small. The Lord valued the widow's mite above the offerings of the rich. Charity is not measured by what we give, but by the intensity of love with which we give.
The Christ in whom we believe is now and for ever, the living Lord - our living contemporary. His eternal mission is the salvation of mankind which requires reconciling us, restoring us and bringing us to God. The life of the believer in Christ should be Christ-like. The The inner presence of Christ should be clear and visible to us in such a way that others will take notice of us, that we have been with Christ. By our fruits shall others know us, whether we be of Christ or not.
Abide in me! He entreats us. True Christianity is a life of constant self-oblation, of daily cross bearing, of sacrificial service of our Lord and the entire humanity. If we make a start with utmost sincerity in the strength of our Lord, we will definitely learn that we are not alone. He is the Lord of grace and all we need will be poured forth upon us, just for the asking. We have His sympathy, His strength, His help and we have His real presence. He is indeed with us and we will know it only if we plunge ourselves into the mission Christ has entrusted us.
Let us make an effort to be Christ-like in our day to day life and discharge our responsibilities with full faith in Jesus as a living contemporary. Self centerdness even in the morally good is a snare. God-centerdness is the only solution to our life's enigma. Trust in God and do the right.
May God bless all of us in our endeavor to be Christ-like.
The Lost Sheepby Jose Kurian Puliyeril
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