Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou
At various times during the year we celebrate the feast of one of the Apostles. Recently it was the Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude. Every time we celebrate the feast of an Apostle I think back to a prayer we used in the previous Missal. One of the Prefaces for the Apostles said “They were the living Gospel for all people to hear”. I love that phrase and continue to be challenged to “be the living Gospel for all to hear”.
That phrase also brings to mind the saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words”.
What does it mean to preach the Gospel without words? When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI talked about the Gospel, he spoke about the Gospel not so much being a message as being a person – the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore for us to preach the Gospel means to be like Christ, to radiate Christ, to those around us.
Maybe the question for us is “How can I, how can we together, help others know Jesus Christ?” It’s about how we treat one another, how we reach out to one another, how we forgive one another. Maybe it is also like another Apostle, Barnabas, who was known not only for his preaching, but even more for his living of the Gospel. In fact, Barnabas is referred to as a “son of encouragement”. What would that mean for you and me if we were to be sons and daughters of encouragement and let the Gospel of Jesus Christ speak through our actions? The challenge for you and for me is to be that living Gospel for all people to hear.
Trying to be the living Gospel for all people to hear often means for me starting afresh each day, seeing each day as a new beginning. I think that is what Barnabas did! He took the Gospel, and in preaching the Gospel to the nations he let it come alive in himself.
Do we let the Gospel come alive every day? Do those words of Jesus come alive in the way we enflesh them, in the way we let them shine every moment of every day?
We pray that we may all be “the living Gospel for all to hear”.
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