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Take on Christ’s mission during Year of Faith

Based on Gospel of Mark 6:7-13

The first mission assignment. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus calls his 12 apostles together.

They have been close to him throughout his ministry, listening to his preaching, teaching and witnessing his miracles. Jesus says the apostles are ready to go out “two by two” as his followers to continue his mission of preaching, teaching repentance, expelling demons, and anointing and healing the sick.

Jesus tells them not to take anything with them but the clothes they are wearing, a pair of sandals and a walking stick. If people do not welcome them or listen to the teaching, the apostles are to leave them behind.

Jesus told his apostles not to rely on their own resources but to trust God to take care of them. And, he did. Following Jesus’ example, the apostles proclaimed the Good News and accomplished a lot. To use today’s terminology, the apostles were the original “God Squad.” Because of their perseverance and trust in God, many people learned about God’s love, goodness, forgiveness, healing and peace.

All three readings for this Sunday call us to participate in Christ’s mission. Christ’s initial mission call to us came at baptism.

To renew missionary energy, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a special “Year of Faith” (to run Oct. 11, 2012, to Nov. 24, 2013) to help us appreciate our relationship with God and to strengthen our commitment to sharing faith with others. The Holy Father also said the Catechism of the Catholic Church should serve as the handbook for helping us to rediscover the truths of our faith and to deepen our understanding of church teaching.

Archbishop Listecki is leading archdiocesan-wide efforts to focus on this “New Evangelization.” He has established a new Office of Evangelization to coordinate these efforts.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl in his book, “Seek First the Kingdom” (Our Sunday Visitor Press, 2012), states: “We must welcome Jesus into our everyday lives, and we must do it every day. We should begin and end our days in prayer, read Scripture each day or hear God’s word and reflect on how to make it a part of our life. We should faithfully attend Mass and receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. We should actively accept his love and mercy in the sacrament of penance. The New Evangelization can then overflow into the society in which we live.

“Now is the opportune time.”