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Wednesday – Twenty-second week – OT1
Readings: Col 1:1-8; Lk 4:38-44.
1/ First Reading: RSV Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing — so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 4:38 And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. 42 And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
I. THEME: Every faithful needs to contribute for the preaching of the Gospel.
It can be said that the most important task of our life is to help people to believe and to love God so they might attain the eternal life. Preaching the Gospel is the necessary task to light up people’s faith and hope in God. But “one swallow doesn’t make a spring,” one man can’t do all thing; God wants everyone to contribute in preaching of the Gospel. Therefore, the duty of the faithful, after receiving faith and love, is to contribute in preaching of the Gospel under different ways depending on their talent, such as: preaching, co-operating with preachers, praying, contributing means for the evangelization, or helping preachers to have good health to efficiently serve God.
Today readings emphasize the co-operation between God and human beings in spreading the Good News to all people. In the first reading, St. Paul confirmed that the Gospel is efficient in itself because it originates from the Holy Trinity. All three persons of the Holy Trinity co-operated with each other in lighting up and giving the three theological virtues for the faithful. Besides, God also uses human beings to continue the mission of preaching the Gospel. For examples, Paul has two eager co-workers with him, Timothy and Epaphras. The Colossian community has Epaphras, and they also help each other to strengthen their faith and to spread it out. In the Gospel, Christ must be the exemplar for all preachers. He untiringly preaches the Good News in synagogues, heals all kinds of diseases, both physically and spiritually for people. After was healed by Jesus, Peter’s mother-in-law quickly rose up to serve preachers of the Gospel by preparing a meal for them. When was asked to stay, Jesus denied the request and continued his way to preach and to heal.
1/ Reading I: The Gospel is effectively spread out due to the co-operation between God and human beings.
1.1/ The Gospel itself has the power to expand because it is originated from the Holy Trinity.
(1) It is God’s grace: The Good News, first of all, is God’s grace for human beings. The Father gives Christ, His son, and opportunities for people to encounter him. He also sends the Holy Spirit to enlighten and to urge people to believe in Christ. St. Paul recognized this special grace and thanks the Father for the Colossian faithful, “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.”
(2) It is taught by Christ: Jesus himself incarnated to preach and to leave all his teachings for his disciples, the preachers of the Good News, and the evangelists, the writers of all four Gospels.
– The Gospel has power to create the three theological virtues in human beings: St. Paul confirmed this power when he wrote, “Because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints,because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospelwhich has come to you.”
– The Gospel has power to expand through all the earth: St. Paul continued, “As indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing — so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth.”
(3) It is enlightened and sanctified by the Holy Spirit: Many times, St. Paul emphasized the Holy Spirit’s role in making the faithful to believe in the Gospel when he said, “No one can believe in Christ or call God their Father if they aren’t helped by the Holy Spirit.” Besides, the Holy Spirit also gives grace to both preachers and listeners. Moreover, to understand the Gospel is also the Holy Spirit’s work in the listeners. In today passage, St. Paul believed the love which the faithful possess is the Holy Spirit’s gift.
1.2/ God wants to have many preachers to preach the Good News: God, Who can do all things, chooses people to co-operate with Him in preaching of the Gospel. People must co-operate with God and each other to bring it to all people in every places. Only in a short passage, Paul showed the necessary co-operation between human beings.
(1) Paul has Timothy, a co-worker who always helps him in preaching.
(2) The Colossian community has Epaphras, Paul’s valuable co-worker and his representative and Christ’s loyal server.
(3) All faithful of the Colossian community co-operated with each other.
2/ Gospel: All contributed to the healing of sickness in life.
2.1/ Jesus preached and healed all people.
(1) Jesus’ activities: He worked from the morning to the evening to heal both people’s soul and body. After Jesus finished his teaching to provide knowledge for people in a synagogue, he came to Simon’s house for rest and finding something to eat; but he didn’t see any food prepared for him but Simon’s mother-in-law and many other sick people were waiting for him. Instead of getting annoyed, he healed all of them. When the crowd wanted to keep him in their place, he left and said to them: “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.”And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
(2) Simon’s mother-in-law: With only two short verses, St. Luke taught people an important lesson which is the one who received a favor must return a favor to her benefactor: “Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her.He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.”
She couldn’t serve Jesus, her son-in-law and other disciples because she had a fever; but after she was healed by Jesus, she didn’t find an excuse that she must have time to rest, but immediately stood up and served Jesus and his disciples. She must be a good example for all to follow because all have a duty to contribute in order for their family and community to be in order and at peace. Life shall be chaos and everyone shall be suffered if Jesus must teach and heal and cook and serve!
(3) Everyone made their contribution: A Vietnamese adage says, “A horse is sick, the whole herd doesn’t eat.” The disciples let Jesus know that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick. And at the sunset, all the sick were brought to him. Although the disciples and the crowd can’t heal, but they helped to find the healer or to carry the sick to Jesus to be healed. In the daily life, people must stick together to help each other to overcome obstacles. Don’t be so selfish or blind before others’ sufferings because it can happen to everyone. If we turn our face away from others’ suffering, who shall help us when we face suffering?
2.2/ The Good News need to reach all people: People want to keep Jesus with them so they could learn and be healed. Therefore, they went out and looked for him. When they found him, they want to hold on to him; but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” And he came out to preach in all synagogues of Judah regions. This must be an important lesson for all.
– A preacher must be on the way, continue to preach and to give until completing God’s given mission. A preacher has no permission to stay in one place, to find a safe place while many people are thirsty for the Gospel.
– The faithful need to remember that the Gospel must be preached to all people in all places. They can’t be selfish to keep a good preacher for themselves because if they do that, they shall lose him. Instead, they must encourage and reassure him to be on his way; they shall do their best to keep their faith and to spread it out to others.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– The most important task of our life is to co-operate with God in preaching the Gospel to all people so that everyone might inherit the salvation.
– We can contribute in the preaching of the Gospel by many ways, directly such as: preaching it, teaching and writing; indirectly such as: contributing our time, money, talents to help preachers to have opportunities to preach.