Bearing the Image
“You remind me of your old man.” Or, “You look like your brother!” I loved to hear that in our little Iowa hometown on a recent trip. Those who remember what my Dad or brother looked like move me with their compliment. Genealogy completed; we usually move into stories trusted only to family. These are the rites of human connection.
What really bears the image of God? This is the question of the Gospel of Matthew this October weekend. The answer… every human being” repeating the Book of Genesis. But wait. There is more! We, are the “ecclesia,”…the Church…the gathered disciples of Christ Jesus, according to Saint Paul. The wisdom for full human life exists among us. That is quite a treasure.
“Give to Caesar then what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Nothing (I’m told) gives the Holy One more pleasure than dedicated service from people who give themselves wholly and entire to him. Jesus opponents in the Gospel story agree. They are amazed and walk away.
We continue that tradition in the footsteps of Jesus, announcing the TRUST-worthiness of God’s care. We print it, after all, on the front of our US coins…” IN GOD WE TRUST!” Trust allows us to do the Father’s work, that “gift of faith and labor of love.” It animates us to gather into the Kingdom of God everyone drawn with us to that great mystery.
“Our mission … “should we decide to accept it,” Is to take that Good News at every corner of the world and into every gathering of God’s people. It invites us to be a yeast that transforms the violence of our world into the image the reign of God. Not necessarily bringing new blood into our church… but transforming our world into the likeness of Jesus’ humanity.
This is Mission Sunday. Each mid -October we remember and commit ourselves again to that ecclesial mission. Transformation. The dramas and fiery rhetoric of the US election season threatens to overwhelm the peace connected to that truth. We’re connected. A collection for the pope’s Mission initiatives mark the Sunday. But it so much more. The Eucharist we share invites us to a “missionary discipleship” of loving generosity. Our presence in communion with one another is an encounter with the Risen Christ for others. It continues to move us forward in passionate care for this ancient Basilica shrine and our common home on planet Earth. It empowers us to proclaim the face of our ancient and loving God for the people of the US Southwestern desert.
A gentle week
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM