BishopBarron|福音反思2017-07-17 22:51:18 阅读量:859
Friends, our Gospel for today is the parable of the sower and the seed. It has to do with the growth and development of the kingdom of God. We hear that Jesus "went out of the house and sat down by the sea" and that large crowds gathered around him. This is Jesus speaking to the whole world.
Sitting down, he is, again, in the attitude of the ancient teacher and judge, and he speaks the parable of the sower. The sower sows far and wide, some of the seed landing on the path, where the birds eat it up; some falling on rocky ground, where it was scorched in the sun; some sown among thorns, where the life is choked off; and some sown on rich soil, where it bears thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.
Keep in mind that Jesus himself, in person, is the seed sown. Jesus is the logos that wants to take root in us. This seed is sown far and wide, through all sorts of means, but in you, let the seed be sown deep, where it can't be stolen, scorched, or choked.
Friends, Jesus instructs his disciples in today's Gospel, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna."
What is the greatest fear we have? Undoubtedly, the fear of losing our own lives; we fear the death of the body. But Jesus is telling us not to worry about those paper tigers that can only affect the body and its goods.
When I am in love with God, when I am "fearing" him above all things, I am rooted in a power that transcends space and time, a power that governs the universe in its entirety, a power that is greater than life and death.
More to it, this power knows me intimately and guides me according to his purposes: "Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid." Because of this we have nothing to fear from anything or anybody here below.
Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit will help us when we face persecution. Speaking to his disciples the night before he dies, Jesus says that he and his Father will send another Parakletos (Advocate). That word, stemming from kaleo (to call) and para (for, or on behalf of), designates something like a lawyer, someone who would plead on behalf of another, who would support, advocate, encourage.
Jesus is saying that while he will depart physically from the scene, he and his Father will send their spirit as a friend. This is the advocate who will inspire Christians up and down the ages.
When the martyrs went to their deaths, it was with the help of the Holy Spirit; when the missionaries went to proclaim the faith in hostile lands, it was the Holy Spirit who pleaded on their behalf; when Edith Stein went with her Gestapo captors to Auschwitz, she went too with the Holy Spirit. And that same Spirit is with you today, right now.
Friends, in our Gospel today, Jesus sends the apostles on a mission of evangelization, a mission which we continue today.
We Catholics cannot avoid the demand of evangelization, of proclaiming the faith. Vatican II couldn’t be clearer on this score, seeing the Church itself as nothing but a vehicle for evangelization. According to Vatican II, it’s not so much the case that the Church has a mission, but rather that a mission has the Church. Bringing people to Christ is not one work among many; rather it is the central work of the Church, that around which everything else that we do revolves.
Do we need evangelization? The statistics couldn’t be clearer. Did you know that there are nearly as many ex-Catholics as Catholics in this country? Did you know that by some estimates, between 50 and 80% of those who attend the Protestant mega-church of Willow Creek are former Catholics? Did you know that the fastest-growing category in those polls of religious affiliation is “none?” Did you know that a recent survey shows that among young religious people, those with the worst sense of their own tradition are Jews, but that the second to last are Catholics?
We need evangelization more than ever before. Will you answer the call?