Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
Embracing God's Choice of Us Being His Trusted Apostles
(July 6-12, 2020)
CALLED TO FORM AND JOURNEY WITH THE PEOPLE
To be able to journey with the people the Lord entrusted to us and to form them as apostles who will take our place.
Specific Objective: To re-acknowledge and embrace with a grateful heart God’s choice and appointment of us as his apostles out of his love and mercy.
God, who knows us fully, has chosen and appointed us not only to be his disciples but more so to be his apostles. The Greek word for “apostle” literally means “one who is sent” and can refer to any one who is sent on a mission and is given authority by the one who sent him. God himself chose us and has given us the authority to be Verbum Dei apostles, we, who have been with him all this time, sending us to a specific mission to form others to be his apostle.
During this time, many lives are experiencing pain and suffering. Many people are living in anxiety and fear, stress and hopelessness as to when this pandemic will end. Some of us might be able to recall people we know who lost their loved ones because of the CoViD 19. Inasmuch as we desire to be with them during this time we have to be confined in our own homes. Yet this creates in us a sense of urgency to even more extend God's love and care for others in any possible way in the midst of our own difficulties.
In our apostleship, we too, have our personal struggles, difficulties, and sufferings that can weigh us down. There are also things that can distract us in our following as disciples. This is why we need to be reminded of God's call for us.
God's choice over our life shows how much He desires to bring out in us the freedom of bearing our identity as an apostle of Christ. It is in order that through the joy of bearing the Word of God in accompanying the people in the mission, they too may discover and follow the call of God for their life.
(St. Mary Goretti, Virgin & Martyr)
A servant chosen, formed and appointed by God
Isaiah 49:1-3 Hear me, coastlands, listen, distant peoples. Before birth the Lord called me, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword, concealed me, shielded by his hand. He made me a sharpened arrow, in his quiver he hid me. He said to me, You are my servant, in you, Israel, I show my glory.
VDC # 2 By virtue of our baptism becoming sons and daughters of God, we have become apostles of Christ. It is not of human origin but an appointment from God out of his love and mercy for us.
At some point in our life we are able to perceive that God is calling us to Himself to do something for Him. But God is calling us everyday through His Words. He is the one who formed and prepared us to go and be the Word of God today.
In my present stage, do I consistently acknowledge and embrace God’s choice of my life to be his apostle?
Sent to the journey to freedom
Exodus 3:6-10 I am the God of your father, he continued, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. But the Lord said: I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry against their taskmasters, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them up from that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now indeed the outcry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.
VDC #1 As Verbum Dei, we have been commissioned by God just like Moses, to go with the people and free them from their “oppressors” through our specific charism and mission which is to form apostles of Christ.
At times God sends a particular situation in our life wherein we too share the suffering of many. Yet God is letting us know that He is not blind nor deaf to the sufferings of His people.
What are these "oppressors" in my/others life that are preventing me/others from following God's call? In the face of the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, what is God's call for me this time?
Conviction of an Apostle of Christ
2 Timothy 1:11-12 For which I was appointed preacher and apostle and teacher. On this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know him in whom I have believed and am confident that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.
Re-acknowledging God's call for our life helps us live with conviction and confidence in what we have believed and witnessed in our life as preacher, apostle and teacher. In every moment it's necessary that we, as apostles, learn to identify ourselves with Christ.
It is true that we experience suffering in living out our identity as apostles but is there anything more worthy to suffer for than to live as apostles for Christ?
(St. Augustine Zhao Rong & companions, martyrs)
See, I place my words in your mouth
Jeremiah 1:7-10 But the Lord answered me, Do not say, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the Lord. Then the Lord extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying to me, see, I place my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms; To uproot and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.
Embracing God's call for us is also a way to trust in Him. It is the Lord himself who will continue to show us how to live our apostleship.
What incapacities prevent me from embracing God's call for my life to be His apostle? Do I trust His process of forming me in the mission?
Do not be afraid, your life is in God
Matthew 10:28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
In the face of difficulties, struggles, violence and suffering, our faith is being tested, purified and strengthened as an apostle of Christ. As human, it's not easy to resist fear, but our faith teaches us that our salvation is in God, knowing that nothing can separate us from His love.
What are our fears? Do I offer this to God in prayer or do I face it alone? Who do we fear most as an apostle? In what way is God leading me to overcome this fear?
(St. Benedict, Abbot)
God is with you always
John 14:26 The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that told you.
God did not choose us to send us alone. He is always reminding us that the Holy Spirit is also accompanying us as we journey with others. Let us never get tired to condition ourselves in prayer to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in the different moments in our apostleship. We may not have everything in our own capacity but the Holy Spirit is the one who can give us the light and inspiration to continue in the mission.
What are the lights and inspirations that the Holy Spirit is presenting to me this time? In what way does these help me embrace and live out my identity as an apostle of Christ bearing the Word of God?
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1st Reading : Isaiah 55:10-11
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 65:10-14
2nd Reading: Romans 8:18-23
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9