Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sending and Receiving

First Reading: Acts 13:13-25
Responsorial Psalm: 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27 -- For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: John 13:16-20
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. - John 13:20
Today, we hear Jesus' words just after washing the feet of the Apostles. It is a beautiful moment, where Our Lord is describing the order of authority; those sending and those sent. He emphasizes that those who receive his messengers are in fact, receiving Him.

When one is sent, they are always sent to something or someone. In the Apostles case, they are being sent to speak to the people of the world. In fact, this is the reason that they were given the name Apostles: from the Greek Apostolos - one who is sent on a mission. Note that Jesus does not put any qualifiers on this proclamation. It does not apply to the Apostles only. As the Church, we believe that the mission of the Apostles continues; we are still being sent to teach the message of Christ. We are also instructed to receive those messengers, so that we may receive Christ. And in receiving Christ, we will receive and come to know the One who sent Him.

Finally, it is important to note the context again. Jesus is telling his disciples this just after a very pronounced act of humility. The ones being sent are not of authority on their own, nor are they powerful men in worldly understanding. We are to understand two things: first, that they (and those that come after them) are messengers only, and their authority comes from Christ. They do not have the ability to change His message. Second, that their spreading of the message must always be an act of humility, of self-giving. We do not spread the Gospel for fame or power or any other earthly thing. We must teach it as a servant to those in need, gently washing their sins and former life away because of love for them.

Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You for Your glory. Thank you for leading us in the example of humility, for teaching us to love as You love. Lord, grant that in all our efforts to spread your word, we do not lose the message of Your great love for all. Let that love flow through those You have sent to those who receive them, that all might be healed and glorify Your name. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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