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10.07.2014 01:45:49 6276x read.
PRAYER
CONSTANTLY SEEK THE FACE OF THE LORD

Called together and sent out

As brothers, we know ourselves to be called together and thus sent out to continue the work of Jesus. He went around doing good, he was a witness to the truth, he came to serve, he came to redeem, and he brought the liberating message of the kingdom of God as a message of love. He invites us to place ourselves completely in the service of this Kingdom (FIC Const. Art. 15)

 

Opening Hymn

O Trinity of blessèd light

O unity of princely might,

the fiery sun has gone its way;

shed now within our hearts your ray.

 

To you our morning song of praise,

to you our evening prayer we raise;

your glory suppliant we adore

for ever and for evermore.

 

Reading: Hosea 10: 1-3, 7-8, 12

Israel was a luxuriant vine

yielding plenty of fruit.

The more his fruit increased,

the more altars he built;

the richer his land became,

the richer he made the sacred stones.

Their heart is a divided heart;

very well, they must pay for it:

the Lord is going to break their altars down

and destroy their sacred stones.

Then they will say,

‘We have no king

because we have not feared the Lord.’

 

But what can a king do for us?

Samaria has had her day.

Her king is like a straw drifting on the water.

The idolatrous high places shall be destroyed –

that sin of Israel;

thorn and thistle will grow on their altars.

Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Cover us!’

and to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’

 

Sow integrity for yourselves,

reap a harvest of kindness,

break up your fallow ground:

it is time to go seeking the Lord

until he comes to rain salvation on you.

 

Psalm 104:2-7

 

R. Constantly seek the face of the Lord.

O sing to the Lord, sing his praise;

tell all his wonderful works!

Be proud of his holy name,

let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

 

R. Constantly seek the face of the Lord.

Consider the Lord and his strength;

constantly seek his face.

Remember the wonders he has done,

his miracles, the judgements he spoke.

 

R. Constantly seek the face of the Lord.

O children of Abraham, his servant,

O sons of the Jacob he chose.

He, the Lord, is our God:

his judgements prevail in all the earth.

 

R. Constantly seek the face of the Lord.

 

Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 1-7

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:

‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

 

Reflection on the readings

            Article 15 of our Constitutions and the gospel reading of today, which we have just listened to, share the same message. We are called like the apostles by Christ to share in His ministry. We are all different, like those chosen to be His apostles. God call us in our own ways to spread the Good News. He said, “And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.” The Good News is essentially a gospel of mercy and compassion, and as Pope Francis tells us, a gospel of joy. It is good news and joy because we are given the power to heal and to deliver the people from evil. “Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.”

            However, it is important to take note that we are reminded to begin with our own house. “These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’” Why did Jesus tell His apostles to focus on the House of Israel? It is not because He did not come for the Gentiles. It was simply a question of strategy. Israel was chosen to be a sign for others. But they could not go out on mission unless they themselves had received the Good News.

            Indeed, there is a need to be focused in the way we do mission or carry out our apostolate. There is a need to be formed ourselves before we can be ready to go out to the world. The great mistake of us Catholics is that many of us have not yet been touched by the Good News radically before we begin serving or reaching out. Most of us who are active church members in ministry are not yet discipled but we are already serving. As a result, we become disillusioned in the apostolate when we meet difficulties and challenges. Some of us get hurt easily or burnt out by the demands of the apostolate. How could we go out to the battleground when we are untrained and unskilled? We cannot go out to the world unless we are empowered and strengthened. The church is called to be a sign for the world. But no evangelization can take place unless we are well grounded in our faith and in personal relationship with the Lord.

            Thus the advice of the Lord is timely. He said, “Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel”.  This house refers to the need to minister to our own Catholics, especially the leaders. It also refers to our own individual relationship with Him. We must avoid the temptation of Israel to be self-sufficient and get carried away by their wealth and success. “Israel was a luxuriant vine yielding plenty of fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the richer he made the sacred stones.” They abandoned God, their king. They wanted to rule their own lives without God. The prophet warned them of the disaster and punishment ahead. “Their divided heart; very well, they must pay for it; the Lord is going to break their altars down and destroy their sacred stones.”  We too can be too focused success. We could be that apostle who betrayed Jesus if we do not take care of ourselves. To avoid such a disaster we must take care of our house. Charity begins at home even if it does not end there.

            We are exhorted to follow the psalmist’s invitation, “Constantly seek the face of the Lord. Consider the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face.” To seek His face in prayer is to recall our privilege of being chosen and His power that is given to us to heal and deliver those from their bondages. To serve the Lord and be given the gifts is a great privilege. At the same time, we are reminded to “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, the judgements he spoke.” Indeed, in gratitude for His love and His work in and through us, we cannot but be filled with joy and confidence. Finally to seek His face is to pursue a life of integrity. We must seek to put our own lives in order and our priorities. We need to be holy if we want to serve the Lord. “Sow integrity for yourselves, reap a harvest of kindness, break up your fallow ground.” Indeed, deep and fervent prayer, especially intercessory prayer, is needed to be fruitful in ministry or the apostolate. The prophet encourages us, “It is time to go seeking the Lord until he comes to rain salvation on you.”

 

Closing Hymn

Refr.:    Send forth your messengers, O Lord,

            They will spread your light to all the world around,

            They will sing of your glory, alleluia!

 

You chose us from all time, your messengers to be,

To raise our light aloft for all the world to see.

 

Today we hear your voice; we hearken to your call

And joyously we come to bring your word to all.

 

Give us your grace, O Lord, to follow where you trod

And thus to spend our days in service to our God.

 

We have been asked by you to share your life with those

Who, strangers though they be, seek from you their repose.

 

While men, though far from you still grope in futile search,

By our kind deeds of love, we draw them to your Church.

 








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