Just as Jesus sends the Twelve Apostles with his authority, so also the Lord sends us – empowered with his grace – to continue his mission in the world. We do it together; we trust in God; we are attentive to each opportunity; we let Christ work through us!
Jesus speaks with power and authority in the Gospel today, revealing that these gifts come from God and require us to use them wisely and well. May we both receive from the Lord what we need and then share our blessings with others to the best of our ability.
In great and small ways, we all exercise power and authority. Some people make daily decisions that shape the lives of nations; others rule kingdoms no bigger than the back garden. Yet regardless of size and shape, the fact remains that power and authority are part of human life.
Having these two dynamic attributes, however, are no guarantee that they will be used wisely and well. History is filled with both good and bad examples where power and authority have been used – for great good and great harm.
Like all gifts, power and authority find their origin in the Lord. God is the source of all life, and every blessing, every ability, derives its strength from the throne of Heaven. Both the first reading and the Gospel today acknowledge this truth: Moses proclaims that God will raise up a future prophet for the people; Jesus teaches with authority and casts out demons. As Christ fulfills the promise of Moses, the Lord extends his power to conquer sin and death that we might have hope in this world as we look to the world to come.
In light of these readings two thoughts emerge for consideration:
Do I acknowledge God’s power and authority in my life?
Do I use the power and authority I have for God’s glory?
Think about it. We often know what we should do…the question is, do we do it?! The Lord’s commands (forgiveness, prayer, service to the poor, justice, etc.) are not nice things to think about in our spare time. They are dictates from on high that are meant to enliven us and fill us with grace, peace, and joy. The problem of course is that our own ego can get in the way and redirect our energy away from God. In these moments, we search our conscience (Remember the Examination of Conscience last week?) and return to the Lord.
And while we are examining our hearts, we have the opportunity to put into practice the power and authority we have in a 1001 ways. Consider:
The Environment, The Legal System, Local Government
Any place where our lives touch another…
Since all power comes from God and flows through us, it might be helpful to recall that one day we are going to stand before Jesus Christ. With loving eyes he will look into our souls and ask what we did with the gift of life we were given. It’s not the mistakes we made that will be hardest to bear, but the opportunities we missed to good with what we had. Perhaps today we might reflect on the Lord’s commands for our lives, and reconsider how we might put them into practice with the power we possess.
We rely heavily on our sense of sight to understand and navigate through this life. Light also plays a crucial role in our spiritual lives, and we look to the birth of Jesus Christ – the Light of the World – as the source of our hope that through Christ we will find the grace we need to make our way to Heaven. Merry Christmas!
The angel Gabriel tells Mary to “be not afraid” as she hears the news of her role in salvation history. In our moments of doubt and fear may we follow Mary’s example and turn to the Lord with renewed faith, asking for the grace and strength we need to face our challenges with God’s guidance.