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Sunday
May272018

The Most Holy Trinity: Homily - Deacon Bill Tunilla

The word commission is an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people. The Gospel reading we just heard from Matthew is titled the Commissioning of the disciples.  It is the closing scene of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus calls his disciples together before he ascends into heaven.  This final scene occurs in Galilee and Matthew brings the story full circle.  This is where it all began.  It is where Jesus grew into manhood and where the first apostles were recruited. Now Jesus calls his disciples together one last time before he ascends into heaven.

Matthew tells us, “When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.  Matthew goes on to say that as Jesus approached them, he said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

This authority Jesus has to commission the Apostles was given to him by his Father in heaven.  Matthew 24:30 states, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”.  Daniel 7:14 sums it up this way.  “He received dominion, splendor, and kingship; all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed”.

Now Jesus has declared the whole world to be a mission and to bring God’s truth to the ends of the earth.  Evangelization is no longer restricted to the House of Israel as it was during Jesus’ earthly ministry. It was passed down to the apostles throughout the ages and today it is our responsibility to share the truth. 

Huge groups of peoples today are unchurched, including Catholics who are unable or unwilling to practice their faith because of a lack of understanding or a disagreement with a church teaching.

It’s important to recognize that making disciples is not reduced to just winning converts or ensuring that people get baptized.  Jesus doesn’t want us to pack a pew or count the sheep.  Being and making disciples is much more than making a quota, it requires us to feed the sheep. 

A disciple is one who listens to Jesus and learns from him how to live, how to pray and how to do what is pleasing to the Father.  Christian discipleship is a total way of life, a commitment to emulate our daily actions and decisions after the example set by Jesus.  As important as it is to attend weekly Mass or to say our prayers something much more is called for in the Lord’s mandate.

Recently the Lord hit me with two realizations.  The first hit was two Fridays ago as I watched 5 men being ordained to the permanent diaconate.  As I watched the ceremony unfold I couldn’t help but to recall my own ordination three years ago.  I recalled the great hesitation I felt.  Looking back now I can see how God prepared me for that moment when I was handed the Book of the Gospels and given this commission:

“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”  This was not only a command for me, but for all of us to bring the Gospel to the world.

The second hit came after last Sunday’s homily given by Deacon Bill the 1st when he asked, “My question to each of you here today is, “Can you handle the truth?”  The truth about this Catholic Faith of yours?  I realized it didn’t stop with accepting the truth of the Catholic faith but another question came to me.

My question this week is, Can you live the truth you were commissioned to live when you were baptized and confirmed?   Living our faith is not easy in a world full of chaos and confusion.  A world where the truth is often twisted to be something bad and that untruth is to be something good.  Death with dignity, abortion and marriage law are a few things that come to mind. 

Jesus warned his disciples when he told them, in Jn 15: 18-20, “If the world hates you realize that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

 I think St. Paul’s commission sums it up best in 2 Timothy 4: 1-4, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. 

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. 

But you be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry”.  

We are Christ’s modern day Apostles and heralds who are to go out into the chaos and confusion of the world.  Do not fear or hesitate to live in truth for we are not alone as Christ Jesus told his apostles, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   As Christ sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, he sends to us the same spirit which we are sealed with on our confirmation day.

EWTN programing reminds us to, Live Truth.  Live Catholic.  To live Truth we need a good foundation of the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, church teachings, and the examples set by the many holy men and women who have gone before us. If we don’t have an age appropriate knowledge of Christ then sign up for a Catholic seminar, pick up a catechism or join a bible study group.

Just as Jesus commissioned his apostles he commissions you and I to live the truth and that truth doesn’t change, even though the world may say differently.  In the Letter to the Hebrews 13:8 puts it this way, “Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be forever……  So I leave with the questions… Can we handle the truth, and if so…are we willing to live the truth? 

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