Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We are all called to be missionaries in one way or another. We preach Christ to help others come to Christ.

Homily for Tuesday of the 1st Week of Advent

Tomorrow is the commemoration of St. Francis Xavier. If some modern thinkers are right, Francis wasted his life. One of the earliest disciples of Ignatius Loyola, one of the first Jesuits, Francis was going to go to Palestine to convert Muslims–and probably be martyred–when an opportunity arose to travel farther East to preach Jesus. He asked to be sent as a missionary to the Far East. By all accounts, he was enormously successful in India, and even brought Christ to Japan for the first time.

But there are writers today who preach that we should not bring Christ to those who have not heard of him. Our job, they say, is to help Muslims be good Muslims, Buddhists to be good Buddhists, Jews to be good Jews. Now I have a more modest understanding of my own ability. I am barely able to help myself and others become good Catholics; only an idiot would send me to help a Muslim be a good Muslim. That theory is not even logical.

No, if we are going to reach the peaceable kingdom described in Isaiah, in which the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, we are going to have to work harder than ever. Fr. Chaminade told us that we are all missionaries. The Holy Spirit empowers us to show other people the face of the Father, the all-compassionate God, by showing them the face of Jesus Christ. That means, of course, the face of Jesus on the cross. There is, as Peter taught us, no name by which men and women are to be saved, other than that of Jesus. Today let’s pray for those around us–nominal Catholics who are not able yet to rejoice in the Holy Spirit–and everyone else who doesn’t know Christ. And let’s seize any opportunity to witness–in love– to others of the saving love of God. That is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, who witnessed love all the way to giving up his life.

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