Today our first reading is taken from Jeremiah (10:10-13). This prophet has been called the “weeping prophet”. He is relatable Biblical figure, sharing his feelings of hurt and betrayal by those who were once his friends, and now seek his misstep, “to take vengeance upon him.” These are the people who boomeranged a nickname upon him, a title he had called upon a disreputable government official. He was called “the terror from every side.“ In spite of the negative abuse from others, he was able to sublimate his feelings of hurt and continue to evangelize the message of God to the people. He stayed a loyal preacher of the Word of God. Can we do the same, in spite of disdain or harsh judgments from others, or even members of our own family?
The Gospel, too, urges us to answer the call to evangelize. It was written by Matthew the Evangelist, a tax collector, one of the twelve Apostles in about 70 CE, to Jewish Christians. But of course, Matthew gives a timeless message for all of us to cede. In Matt 10:26-33, we are commissioned to share the need for faith in God, and “…proclaim upon the housetops (verse) 27).” This same urgent message is stated within the Responsorial Psalm, “…let heaven and earth and seas, and all that stirs them, acclaim Him!” Most of us are not priests or deacons who have the formal opportunity to speak from the pulpit with a sermon of faith. So, as laypeople of God, how do we fulfill this directive of evangelization? How do we “proclaim” Jesus is God to others?
Probably the first step is to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit to speak to us, so we can best use our talents to bring others into the faith. Missionary work can be done by each of us! It can be done in “Little Ways”, as St. Teresa has said. When we look to the patron saint of this parish, St. Damien, we have an excellent role model of sharing God’s word while serving the ill and lonely. Perhaps we know a neighbor who could use more than a wave from us?
Many of us support the formal missions by sending Mass cards to a family suffering the loss of a loved one. This simple gesture might bring comfort and bring a person back to the church. Buying religious items as gifts can be a form of bringing Jesus to others, gentle reminders to believe in Jesus. Sharing Christian music, statues, artwork, rosaries are ways to share the message, Jesus can be a part of everyday life. Maybe you have been thinking about putting a religious statue in your yard, don’t delay. Proclaim God in this way to the many who pass your home. Let us find our best way to help ourselves and others to live lives patterned after Jesus. Thus, at the end of time, we will be recognized by God. “So if anyone declares himself for Me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.” ( Matt 10:32). Because the alternative course, “But he who disowns me in the presence of human beings, I will disown in the presence of my Father”, is to be avoided, wouldn’t you agree?
Remember each of us is important to God, “every hair is counted”. (Matt 10:30). We each can play a significant part to evangelize. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Missionary of Charity has said, “Remember the work is His. You are his co-workers. The talents God has given you are not yours- they have been given to you for your use, for the glory of God.”