Monthly Spiritual Message, July 2010
By Fr John Spiteri OFM Cap.
“Arise, go forth and shine”, says the Risen Lord
The Church is the human reality of the Lord’s words, “the new Jerusalem”. It is also the luminous destination of a voyage of the disciple who follows Jesus. The light of Christ shines brightly in his Church that sends the disciple to proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus her Lord, who lights up the way of the disciple who goes forth in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ commissioned his Apostles to go on mission through his Church, “…just as the Father sent me, so am I sending you…” And now, through our Baptism and our Confirmation, Jesus anoints and commissions us through his Church and makes us bearers of his Resurrection. We have a grave responsibility to Christ and to his Church to be bright beacons for the world. We are to be bearers of “glad tidings,” to the modern world and to history. The Holy Spirit enlightens us as we proclaim that truth that cannot be silenced by any power. And we preach without fear through our “obedience to God.”
Jesus reveals to us our mission through the Church who preaches what he preached and teaches what he taught. She nourishes her children with all that the Lord left in her care. Jesus reveals his clear will to associate others with him in his mission that he received from his Father (Martini, Journey with the Lord, p. 256). This means that Jesus esteems and trusts our human freedom, called to collaborate in the preaching of the gospel that he lived. We are talking here of a call “…come follow me…I will make you fishers of men.” This call is an intimate association and collaboration in Christ’s ministry. The disciple takes part with a spirit-filled freedom that is interiorly animated and guided by the example and words of the Lord Jesus who clearly states and demonstrates that he is with his Apostles, and now with us, as he repeats those words that revive and strengthen our faith: “Peace be with you…look at my hands and my side…Peace be with you….”
We, his disciples, must do all that Jesus did. It is he who chose us and sends us out with the proclamation of his Resurrection and the gift of eternal life to the disciple who believes and follows him. The Church’s mission is that of her Lord under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who fills her members with faith and a light that cannot be extinguished by any human or spiritual powers. It is the Spirit who inflames the hearts of Christ’s disciples and leads them on the hard and narrow road of the Gospel. Our mission then is to make accessible the very reality of Jesus in his gospel to everyone we meet. To speak about accessibility means to allow Jesus to be seen and heard through the words, ways and behaviour that we present to others as we preach his gospel.
“Arise, go forth, shine out” and proclaim to the whole world that the Lord has risen as he said. This invitation to walk in the power of Christ’s Resurrection will assist us as it did the apostles. These new undertakings for the sake of the Resurrection will not come to life unless we are able to look in depth at society’s suffering and offer them a genuine love and hope that we carry out to them. If we do not make the effort and accompany them through our prayer and through invoking the Name of Jesus by which all sins can be forgiven, then that light will not shine down on society or upon us who are sent to do this work of proclamation of the Resurrection. “Arise, go forth, and shine… for I am with you until the end of the ages….”
Fr. John Spiteri Ofm Cap.
National Spiritual Assistant SFO-Oceania