Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Leading the way

You go into my vineyard too[1]

Jesus raises Jairus' daughter

St Luke tells us: “when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.[2] It is significant that those who are in need of Jesus are brought to him to be healed. They are not simply told to go to him, but rather those people take on this responsibility. They literally bring those who are in need, to Jesus, so that he can individually lay “his hands on every one of them and healed them.”[sic]

We are all sharers in the mission of our Lord, priest, prophet and king. Pope John Paul II reminds us that doing apostolate is not something reserved only for those who have received Holy Orders. “The lay faithful, precisely because they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel. "As sharers in the mission of Christ, priest, prophet and king, the lay faithful have an active part to play in the life and activity of the Church... They lead to the Church people who are perhaps far removed from it.[3]

We have a responsibility, as the laity of the Church, to bring others to Jesus.  These “others” are all those with whom we come into contact. The people we meet in business, in our sport, our travels, through our social gatherings and lets not forget our family and friends.

In doing apostolate, we should always remember to do so patiently and gently.  We meet people where they find themselves in life. “A doctor does not use the same prescription for everybody.[4] We remember that they belong to God, ransomed by Christ’s redemptive blood, and each of them is therefore precious. We gently lead them to Jesus, never ever forgetting that it is Jesus, not us, who lays his hands on them and heals them.

Leading can take many forms, but gentleness and patience is always essential. Our own quiet constant example may more often than not be the most suitable, gentle and loving approach. It often speaks so much louder and clearer than words.

Apostolate does entail personal sacrifice. When we want to give up, we should remember that what we are doing is immensely important and good. Just imagine how happy those sick people must have been when Jesus healed them. Imagine also the incredible joy of those who were responsible for bringing them to Jesus.

[1] Matthew 20: 4
[2] Luke 4: 40
[3] Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici 33, December 30, 1988
[4] Fernandez F, In Conversation with God, Vol 4, pg 534

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