“Rekindling the fire and zeal of being a Missionary of Jesus, our King and Leader!”
(Based on Isaiah 45:1, 4-6, 1 Thess 1:1-5 and Mt 22:15-21 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A familiar incident is told of a particular dog.
One fine afternoon, as the whole locality was silent, the dog began barking….Bow wow….bow wow…
Hearing this dog bark, on went the dogs in the neighbouring house…bow wow….
The resonant barking of these two dogs, was enough to excite the other dogs in the other houses…
… and even on the streets…
The whole neighbourhood became a pandemonium of barking and woofing.
But in a while… the dogs on the street waned down… probably getting tired…
So did the dogs in the neighbouring houses…
But the first dog, who began it all, was still strong and vocal in its barking…bow wow…
All other dogs, had more or less quietened…but this dog continued…
This dog had seen a dangerous and poisonous snake, lurking close to the house…
And so it barked….and never stopped…because it had a reason!
The other dogs also had barked, not with a reason, but simply because they heard one barking.
But the first dog? Had a reason!
It had a reason…a purpose…and a goal, which made it to raise its voice and be excited.
When one has a clear purpose and a goal in life, one remains excited and enthusiastic about it, and pursues the aims with a great determination and enthusiasm.
Have I discovered the true sense of purpose and aim in my life as a Christian and do I pursue in that path, with much enthusiasm and excitement?
Today, Holy Mother, the Church celebrates Mission Sunday.
Every Mission Sunday is an occasion to re-discover & re-kindle the purpose in one’s life as a Follower of Christ.
The Gospel of the Day helps us to rejuvenate our spirit of following Christ, who Himself was convinced of His Mission in life.
We have today the incident of a group of people, seeking to trap the Lord with a query on whether or not to pay taxes to Caesar. (Mt 22: 15-21)
The query on “should taxes be paid to Caesar or not” was asked by two groups: the Pharisees and the Herodians.
It is interesting to note that forces with evil and crooked intentions often work in tandem.
These two groups, normally opposed to each other, join hands, to oppose Christ.
The Pharisees resented and opposed the payment of tax to Caesar…
…because they considered Israel as a sovereign state under God’s rule and therefore should not pay taxes to another king.
The Herodians, on the other hand, accepted and supported the payment of tax to Caesar…
…because they belonged to the political party of Herod, the king of Galilee, who owed his power to the Romans.
Saying a NO would bring Christ before the Roman government for treason.
Saying a YES would bring Christ before the Jewish authorities for blasphemy.
The forces of evil had posed a severe danger to the Mission of Christ.
The answer by Christ would be very vital and important to the continuity of His Mission.
But the Missionary Jesus… Who was convinced of His purpose and aim in life, had the best answer…
“Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God!” (Mt 22:21)
He did not deny paying to Caesar.
But He neither advocated it.
He rather, raised the level to one’s relationship with God, who is the sole authority of life & the giver of all things and goods.
The answer baffled and amazed the ones who had come to interrogate Him.
The Mission had not only been saved… the Mission received a greater boost.
The Lord was convinced of His Mission in life.
He was convinced that He belonged to His Father and that all authority comes from Him.
He was totally sure that His purpose and aim in life was not earthly, but of the divine realm.
He was fully certain of His mission in life, to live a life dedicated to His Heavenly Father.
We too, in our Christian lives, will often face such situations of dilemma and trouble…
In a world getting addicted to consumerism, materialism, relativism and sensationalism, the challenges to live our Mission, as an Authentic Christian is especially great indeed.
Situations may force us to give in to abandon faith, and follow only what reason teaches…
Situations may make us to give up our values and follow the vain standards of the world…
Situations may cause us to dilute the Church teachings to accommodate our wants and pleasures…
Situations may incite us to loosen our hold on true traditions to pave way for a “modern” lifestyle…
The challenges to our Mission as a Christian and as a Catholic are much.
But like our Lord Jesus, the First Missionary and our Leader in Missions, we ought to stay convinced and remain enthusiastic to spread the Mission of the Lord.
The Prophetic words through Isaiah are an inspirational reminder to us all: “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other!”
St Paul reminds us through his letter to the Church at Thesselonica, that we are His beloved and called and chosen by Him… “beloved by God, that he has chosen you..” (1 Thess 1:4)
Each of us – in any way of life – is a Missionary…
We have a Mission to belong to the Lord and to Him completely.
We have a Mission to spread the Love of the Lord to the whole humanity.
We have a Mission to bring peace and harmony and wholeness for the entire humanity.
We have a Mission to orient our lives to the values of the Gospel and to travel heavenward.
Let’s rekindle the fire and zeal of being a Missionary of Jesus, our King and Leader!
Happy Mission Sunday!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God requires a faithful fulfillment of the merest trifle given us to do…
… rather than the most ardent aspiration to things to which we are not called!”