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Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Heb. 12:18-19, 21-24 & k. 6:7-13

The making of the two covenants between God and humankind are among the most dramatic moments in recorded history. But they could not have been more different.

When Moses went up the mountain to receive from God the commandments of the covenant it was for the chosen people an event filled with the power and majesty of God. In contrast the event that established the new covenant in Christ’s Blood appeared to be one of weakness and humiliation. Yet we know that this new covenant is greater than the old because it is everlasting. And God offers it to those who are weak and humble.

Consider the comparison between Jesus and Abel. Both were put to death. Abel was killed by his brother Cain out of jealousy. Jesus was killed by His brothers because they hated His teaching and the claims He made. But whereas the blood of Abel cried out for vengeance, the Blood of Jesus brought forgiveness and access to God.

We should be thankful to God for the covenant He made with us. The Blood of Jesus truly brings us forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father.

The twelve apostles had seen Jesus face many desperate situations during His ministry as He drew the needy to God through healing and forgiveness. They had also witnessed first-hand how Jesus' power could be held back by unbelief, as happened in His hometown. Now, Jesus was sending them out - ordinary folk though they were - to minister to others just as He had done. They truly had to step out in faith and trust their Lord and Master.

The apostles knew that they could bring about peace, love and faith only in the measure that they allowed Jesus to minister through them. He had commissioned them to bring the power of the Gospel to all who would receive it, and so they were careful not to claim credit for their works. Instead they allowed God to work in them to bring the Good News to many. As a result, "they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them."

God wants all of us to share in every aspect of His life. When we were baptised each of us was commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel. Obstacles encountered in ourselves or in others may seem discouraging, but to Jesus they are opportunities for His love and power to prevail. After all, Jesus came for all sinners, and that definitely includes us! God loves to work through humble and submissive hearts, through people who understand and appreciate the privilege of being His instruments in this world.

The popular "peace prayer” of Saint Francis of Assisi can teach us the attitude we need to adopt whenever we seek to minister God's mercy to others,

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is darkness let me sow light".

St. Francis knew that he could be effective only in the measure he allowed God to work through him. Like the Twelve he went about Assisi proclaiming the power of the Gospel to all who would accept it. Let us step out in faith today to pray for all the needy, the lost and the sick - that is our privilege as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus we believe You hear every prayer. Make us messengers of Your love and peace to others. Stretch out Your hand in power to heal all those we pray for today.
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