I almost always find it interesting and curious, especially during a contentious election cycle, how tempting it is to selectively cherry-pick passages of scripture that support a politically expedient position. I suppose we also have this tendency at other times too. But it becomes more obvious, for example, once Presidential Primary season rolls around.
Considering our own call, brothers and sisters, may we be attentive to a primary passage from Matthew's gospel that gives us direction as disciples of Jesus:
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20This commission that Jesus lays at our feet is meant to be written on our hearts, rather than relegated to a function handled by so-called professionals in our stead. This is the mission of the whole people of God. It remains a daunting task -- one that overwhelms while simultaneously intimidates. What are we to do when we grow hesitant, comfortable, and functionally indifferent? As we seek to grow as Christ followers, let's consider these questions as we anticipate our weekly gathering.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
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First Sunday in Lent
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Prayer of the Day
O Lord God, you led your people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide us now, so that, following your Son, we may walk safely through the wilderness of this world toward the life you alone can give, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Why is the number forty observed, if not that the excellence of the Ten Commandments is perfected by the four books of the gospel? For as ten multiplied by four makes forty, so we perfectly fulfill the precepts of the decalogue when we faithfully observe the four books of the holy gospels. And if you wish, there is yet another way to understand this time of Lent. From today until the joyful solemnities of Easter there are six weeks, that is, forty-two days. Subtract the six Sundays, and there remain thirty-six days for Lenten abstinence. Since a year contains three hundred and sixty-five days, we, when we mortify ourselves for thirty-six days, give to the Lord as it were a tithe of our year.
—Gregory the Great [in Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, II, 34-35.]