“in season and out of season…”
(2 Tim 4:2)
September 18-24, 2017
That as an apostle I may learn how to accompany others in their journey of faith
To be an apostle means to be “called and desired by Jesus to be with Him and to be sent out to bring the Good News.”(Mk. 3:13-14) An apostle is called to accompany others.
What is to accompany and how to do it? It is to be like that of a shepherd who takes care and looking constantly after the sheep. The shepherd knows his sheep and they know him. He is willing to give his life, willing to go after the stray ones and bring them back together as one flock. He leads them towards the greener pastures in order to feed and have a safe place to rest. (cf. John 10; Ps 23:1-2)
To be an apostle, who shepherds his flock, is Jesus' personal invitation for us. It is then to learn from Him, the good shepherd himself how to accompany the person whom He placed in our way. This is someone whom we are going to give our time, our life for, whom Jesus asked us to love, to journey with and at the same time patiently explaining the scriptures until they themselves personally experience the presence and love of the Father.
We do this perseveringly in season or out of season.
I myself will look for my sheep
“I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.
In accompanying, I need to know who are the people God has given me. It is to know them personally and the situations they are carrying everyday. Talking and listening to them is never enough. To accompany is to make an option to spend more of my time, my attention, my efforts to attend to their concerns and most importantly to show love as Jesus loves them.
How well do I know the person whom I am accompanying? How much time and effort am I willing to give in accompanying a particular person?
I pray for them
John 17:6a, 9
“I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you.
In accompanying others, I need to enter into prayer so that I can commit myself more to the person/s Jesus wants me to accompany. It is to pray for them to connect them to the heart of the Good Shepherd. To see the heart of Jesus is to see the heart of the Father, who cares intensely and who yearns over His people, loving them to the point of laying down His life upon the cross for us.
Is the time that I spend for prayer, enough to make me stay committed?
I draw myself near and walk along with them
Luke 24: 17-24
Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”
They stood still, with sad faces. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things that have been happening there these last few days?” “What things?” he asked. “The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”
In accompanying others, I need to journey with them so that I may know what concrete situations they are living. It is to know their history in order to understand where are they now in their journey of faith, their shattered hopes and dreams, who they were and who they have become. Knowing their situations is to value their identity as the child of God.
Is my knowledge about them enough to make me understand and value their identity?
Explain the Scripture to them
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.
Luke 24: 25-29
Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.
As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them.
In accompanying others, I need to go further to what was shared than just knowing and understanding their situations. I need to be bold enough to share also the Word. To give the Word is to give them the encouragement to remain and hold strongly in their faith. To explain the Word is to bring back their hopes and dreams for their lives. Yet to fulfill this I have to pray very well in order to have a heart that’s pure to know how to lead the person to God.
Are my intentions in giving the Word lead them to recognize the presence of God?
Open their eyes
Luke 24: 30-32
He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
In accompanying others, I need to have perseverance in speaking the truth to them. It is to be fearless and not to remain in silence. It is because my task is to accompany the Word becoming alive also through their words and actions. Thus, it is to open their minds as I tell them the truth. I need to give it time to be rooted and to grow in the person.
Am I patient enough to allow the Word to change and transform their hearts?
Until they set out…
They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!”
The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.
“I am interested in unfolding the horizon of the Good News before the expectant eyes of the adolescent, in the dawn of their life, when they search for light and truth, with the impetus and timidity of a landscape that peers over the horizon, begging for rays and the warmth of the sun. It is like a handful of seeds open to a limitless harvest.” (Jaime Bonet, Herald of the Evangelizer)
As an apostle of Christ, I am invited not to stop walking with the people that I am accompanying in season or out of season until they themselves have touched and experience God personally in their lives.
How much further am I willing to go in accompanying them?
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Is 55:6-9
Psalm: Ps 145
Second Reading: Phil 1:20c-24, 27a
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16a
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.