For the past few weeks, we have heard the word enemy a lot. Now enemy is a very interesting word. Enemy implies us against them or him or her against me. Enemy is a very tricky word.
So how many of us really in our hearts sense that we have an enemy? Not many hands go up, but in truth, there is only one person who is our enemy. Who is that person? The old saying I am my own worst enemy. Is it true if anyone is going to sabotage us? Is it me? You know it’s led.
I am going to pray harder this lent than I have ever prayed before. Two days in the land. No, no, I don’t think so anymore. I did it to myself. Or I am going on a diet. I am going to look like Brad Pitt at the end of this diet. Four days into the diet. No, I really think I like the Michelin Man.
We do it to ourselves. So really, when we think about the use of the word enemy in today’s gospel, doesn’t the evangelist say and Jesus knew the malice of their hearts? Well, malice would imply that they were enemies, but the Lord himself never says that. Rather, the Lord tries to show them how to live in his light. Isn’t that amazing?
The first reading that we heard today is all about Cyrus the Great Cyrus, the king of Persia, who conquers Babylonia. Well, if you are a Babylonian citizen, Cyrus could be the enemy. On the other hand, he comes into Babylon and tells the people of Israel, Go home, Go back. Have the freedom of your religion. Pray to God. Well, that made some sound like their friend, the great liberator.
Well, who was Cyrus? Friend or enemy? Interesting question. It’s all about perspective. So today we celebrate World Vision Sunday that one day of the year where we stop to really celebrate our missionaries, those dedicated men and women who go throughout the world. Even in our own country proclaiming the word of God and that amazing. Are they friends or enemies?
It depends on who you ask. And today, Pope Francis tells us clearly that they are our friends. Pope Francis likens today a missionaries to the two disciples on the road to a mass who have even heard the word of God get up. And as Scripture tells us with open eyes. On their feet, they set out on the way.
Pope Francis today has asked us to have our hearts burning with fire and our feet firmly planted on the road. We rejoice today because our missionaries, our friends are examples of how it is today that we are called to be missionary disciples. Each and every one of us, on the day we were baptized, we given the call to proclaim the Gospel.
To preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Who brings truth, love and freedom to each and every one of us. Well, Francis again. And if I may quote, Pope Francis has said the primary and principal resource of mission are those persons who have come to know the risen Christ in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist, who carry us, who carry in his or her heart the fire of grace and light in their gaze.
They can bear witness to life that never dies, even in the most difficult of situations and in the darkest moments. We are called not to go to foreign countries. All we have to do is walk down Court Street or Montague Street, and we are in the missions with people, our brothers and sisters, our friends who need us to proclaim the word of God, unlike the Pharisees.
In today’s gospel, we are called to open our hearts and minds to the living words of Jesus. We are called to go back out in the world and to give the world our best, to let go of prejudice or hate or fear or anything that would make us think we have an enemy. To get rid of all of the idols that hinder world right now, whether it is money, greed, hatred of any kind, we are called to making all conditional commitment to Jesus Christ.
The Day World Mission Sunday is celebrated and every Catholic community around the world, this third Sunday of October, we are reminded that we are not Congregationalist. We are a universal church who today, through prayer, reflection and generosity, express our support of missionaries and our brothers and sisters around the world. World Mission Sunday is a moment of grace. It’s a moment of solidarity.
It’s a moment to say no to violence or poverty or hatred. However, it’s not just a one day a year celebration. Every day we are called to make a difference. And so earlier this morning, we as a community here at Saint Charles had our religious set. Students and families and parishioners pray for peace in the Middle East, in Ukraine and around the world.
We prayed that together we might proclaim Christ Jesus, the prince of peace. And this Friday, Pope Francis has called for a worldwide day of prayer, penance and fasting for peace. Now, at 12 noon at Saint James Cathedral, right down the street, Bishop Brennan is going to celebrate a special best for peace. Everybody in the diocese is invited. And at 6 p.m., Pope Francis is going to be saying mass at the Vatican for world peace.
Now, what is it, about 12 noon in Brooklyn and 6 p.m. in Rome? It’s the same time we have the opportunity of joining our hearts and minds together with the Holy Father. This Friday, as we pray, acts of generosity and penance and fast for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia and Israel and Palestine, so that we together and journey on the way with hearts on fire and feet on the move of the way.
Now, whether or not you were able to get to Saint James, we have a 12 noon prayer service with Eucharist and prayer afterwards. Wherever you work, try and find a mass, unite hearts and minds in prayer on the internet at the 5 p.m. Vespers service where there will be prayer for peace. There are so many opportunities to be living witnesses, Disciples.
Edition of World Vision Sunday and every day. So consider this Any one of us really have an enemy other than ourselves. Can we really be missionaries on Court Street or Montague Street? Maybe even on Sydney Place? Do we have to go further than our backyard to be in the mission? Pope Benedict is sitting said, Walk out your door and you’re in the missions.
So here we are. World Mission Sunday. Only friends, a community around the world who are praying for missionaries, for our brothers and sisters in need, and for that great gift of generosity. So what the second collection which will take place immediately after the first collection, we ask for your generosity. All of the mission, all the moneys that you contribute today go directly to the missionaries and through the propagation of faith.
So thank you in advance for this great gift. And let us remember hearts ablaze feet all the way. We proclaim Christ Jesus this saying yesterday, today and forever.