Are We Ambassadors For Christ?
Thursday of Week 4 in Eastertide
Acts. 13:13-25 & Jn.13:16-20
We find Paul in the synagogue at Antioch in today's first reading. Invited to speak he gives a lesson in history, from the sojourn of the Jews in Egypt, their rescue by God, their wandering in the desert and the subsequent periods of the judges and Kings, to the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus.
He recalls their history to affirm the deep-seated belief of the Jews that it was God Himself who had chosen them and walked with them after rescuing them from slavery. Their God is a God of love, Whose favours they will sing for all eternity. But by far the greatest proof of God’s loving care for His people is in the sending His Son Jesus as “a Saviour for Israel”.
Have you ever thought of yourself as an ambassador? This was the task which Jesus gave to His disciples when He said, "Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me." He was approaching the end of His life on Earth and was preparing the disciples to continue the work He had begun. What He had taught them they were to proclaim to the world, and He gave them authority to speak in His name. Wherever they were welcome, Christ would be welcomed. If their message was rejected, then Christ would be rejected.
To be an ambassador is to hold a position of trust and responsibility. Representing their country on a visit abroad the reputation of that country will be judged by the way they speak and behave. Prepared, knowledgeable, diplomatic and sensitive to the host's point of view, and loyal to the government which sent them, they can create a good impression, leading to more friendly relationship and more customers for their country’s products.
Through our baptism, we are all called upon to be ambassadors for Christ, to speak in His name and bring His message to the world around us. There is no need for us to be foreign missionaries; wherever we find ourselves in our ordinary lives, we stand for Christ and people will be influenced by the way we live. If we are true to His teaching, He will be welcomed. If our behaviour is scandalous, we let Him down and cause Him to be rejected.
What qualifications do we need to be Christ’s ambassadors? We must be well-informed about our faith so that we can talk about it confidently. We must be tactful in our approach, so as not to alienate the people we want to convince. Most importantly of all, we must have a deep love and loyalty for the One who sends us, that others will be impressed by our sincerity.
If we are good ambassadors, people will like what they see and hear. They will be well-disposed towards our Church and want to know more. They may even want to join it! We meet so many people who, perhaps through no fault of their own, have no knowledge of Christ and His Church. Others are anxiously searching for truth. If every Catholic loved their faith enough to draw one person into the Church then we would really be ambassadors for Christ. Is it true that today in our country there are more converts to Islam than to Christianity? Does this not tell us that Christ urgently needs fervent ambassadors?
Holy Spirit, like the first disciples of Christ, we have Your support and, with Your help. we should be good ambassadors for Christ.