“Into any house you enter, say: Peace to this house.”
Every Sunday, La Croix Africa takes up the commentary taken from the missal “Prions en Eglise Afrique”, published by Bayard Afrique. On this Sunday, Father Paul-Martin TALAKE invites us in his meditation to become aware that the proclamation of the Gospel is everyone’s business.
After the mission of the twelve at the beginning of chapter 9, Jesus sends 72 others to announce the Good News. We pass from the restricted circle of apostles to a larger circle of disciples. The number 72 designates, according to Genesis 10, the total number of pagan nations. This account, while prefiguring the proclamation of the faith to the pagan nations which begins after Pentecost, teaches us that the mission is not the business of a privileged few.
Those who are sent are, like us, ordinary people but who have the particularity of being disciples, that is to say those who follow the master, listen to him and are nourished by his life and his words. Anyone who calls himself a disciple of Jesus must therefore feel concerned by the mission of spreading the message of the Gospel. Announcing the Good News is everyone’s business. But how can we effectively announce the Gospel today when the “spiritual desert” is taking hold of the world, when our insatiable contemporaries are turning more to esoteric sects and false prophets in search of immediate happiness? Perhaps it will be significant, as society becomes individualized and the value of community and fraternity are lost in favor of material good, to opt for sobriety, simplicity and sharing. The disciple does not need to encumber himself with useless things but to choose, as Jesus recommends, sobriety and to show that one can live happily with little, but in sharing. Indeed, the truth of our witness lies in the simplicity and consistency of our word and our action with what we announce.
Also, Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him, literally the Greek expression means in front of his face, in other words in his presence. The proclamation of the Gospel is not an initiative proper to the disciples, but a mission which they receive from the master. This is why Jesus recommends them to pray to the Lord of the harvest. The harvest is primarily the work of God and the workers are only instruments in the service of this work. Thus, by asking his disciples to pray, Jesus makes prayer a key element for the success of their mission of evangelization.
Preaching and prayer go hand in hand. One lacks balance without the other. Prayer brings us into the bosom of the Father where we draw the adequate word and the strength necessary to bear witness. This is how we can overcome and bring down Satan so that the Kingdom
of God extends. However, our joy should not be based on the success of our testimony, that would be pride, but in God himself who gives us his salvation: your names are written in the book of life!
Paul-Martin TALAKE, Assumptionist Priest
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Proclaiming the Gospel is everyone’s business!
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