In today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7), we see an interesting command from Christ to His 12 disciples. He tells them to leave the Gentiles alone and stay away from the Samaritans too. Instead, they are to focus on the lost ones from the house of Israel. The message they are to share is that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
THE NEW IS ACTUALLY VERY OLD …
This was a new evangelization.
From the beginning, it was God’s purpose for the Good News to be shared with the whole world. It was not reserved for the house of Israel alone. It’s true that the Jews were the Chosen People, but their mission (what they were chosen for) was to bring a Messiah into the world so that world might have access to the Kingdom of God.
Essentially, salvation was to come to the world through them.
IN NAME ONLY …
Apparently, many Jews had “fallen away” from their faith. Today they might be referred to as “cultural Jews.” They embraced the identity of being Jewish but not the faith that accompanied it. We see very much the same thing in the Catholic Church too.
There’s another important group. “CINO” they are sometimes called. “Catholics In Name Only.” People in this group do the minimum (in some years) to remain Catholic, but they pretty much pick and choose what they believe about the Church. Some might even attend a Protestant Church or not go to church at all. These are the ones Jesus would tell twelve Catholic disciples today to find with the news that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
REALITY CHECK …
Statistics tell us that the largest faith-based group in America (and the world) is Catholics. The second largest, however, is not a Protestant group or a Muslim group. It is “fallen away” or “lapsed” Catholics. We all know them. They are literally everywhere.
If our culture and our nation is truly falling apart, it is because we have failed these people. They were so poorly formed and catechized that they could literally walk away from the gifts that Christ uniquely gave to the Church He established. We’re talking about the Church we read about in the Book of Acts. We’re talking about the Church that gave the Bible to the world.
While we see society struggle as it does right now with CINO’s leading Congress and voting to kill babies in the name of recreational sex and career management, brothers and sisters inside the Church publicly accuse the Pope or cardinals or bishops of being anti-Christs (or worse). Do we need to wonder why society appears to be crumbling?
NEW EVANGELIZATION …
Where is the message Jesus told His Church to share? The Kingdom of God is at hand! Why trifle with one another over personalities or leadership styles in the Church? Let Jesus handle the Church while we (His disciples) spend our time and energy telling fallen away Catholics that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
It’s cool to be Catholic. It really is!
It is amazing and almost unbelievable that some of us (we include ourselves) might actually have the privilege of sharing in His divine life through the Holy Eucharist and being part of Christ’s Body. Yes, it’s cool. COOL2B!