Homily for May 11, 2017
Going through the words of Jesus in our Gospel passage this morning, you would notice how he makes use of missionary vocabulary such as: SERVANT, MASTER, SEND, RECEIVE etc.
By washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus gave them an example of what mission is all about; it is first of all realizing that you have been sent and then, bringing yourself down to serve those to whom you were sent.
Missionary work is service. It is not a job wherein you begin to grumble about salary or welfare. Being a missionary is forgetting oneself and being humble enough to help people wash off their dirty sides by pouring the water of God’s words on their feet.
Every Christian must see himself or herself as a person on mission. Being servants of God, the service we owe God is spreading the message. And this mission has no boundary or limitation.
However, in serving others, in bringing God to them, we should not expect them to appreciate it or even thank you. No, the experience of Jesus who is our master is exactly what we shall face since we are not greater than our master. The people we are serving will be the ones to stab us in the back.
If Judas could betray Jesus after eating with him that same night, then we should even expect worse from those benefiting from us. “He who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me.” In the work of God, our greatest trouble will not come from unbelievers but from our fellow church-church-people.
Dear friends, the work of mission has no boundary. It is not a work we do, it is a life we live. So long as you meet people on a daily basis, so long as you can identify those aspects of the people’s lives that are in clear contrary to what God demands, you can help to wash their feet; you can bring God into their lives.
This is exactly what we see the great Apostle Paul do in the first reading. He came to a Jewish synagogue and fully aware that the people knew about the Old Testament, he started his sermon from as far back as when the people of Israel were in Egypt.
Tracing their own history for them to which they could all agree with, Paul interpreted this history by making them reach the conclusion that that Jesus is the fulfilment of all the hopes and promises of old. This is perfect preaching; using the things your audience are familiar with to introduce to them things they didn’t know before.
The missionary task is not so much an act of magic. It is precisely being able to speak directly into the minds and hearts of people. It is meeting them where they are and showing them a way forward.
In the end, it is not my work or your work; it is God’s work. No human being one can take any credit for it. Jesus says “He who receives anyone whom I send receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.” Even Jesus gives credit to God the father, how much more, we who are merely humans.
In other words, if people receive you, if hearts are touched and souls are converted, it is not because you preached to them; it is because God himself worked. They didn’t receive you, they received God. So, do not go about boasting about your accomplishments. The preacher is only a tool, a pencil in the hands of God, the master artist.
God alone deserves praise for the work of mission.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, set me on fire to proclaim your word to the world. Amen
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 4th Week of Easter. Bible Study: Acts 13:13-25 and John 13:16-20).*