Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saint Francis of Assisi

Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ, 

I have given you the power “to tread upon serpents.” (Luke 10:19)

What a joyful tone this reading has! Jesus sent out seventy-two of his followers to preach and teach and heal, and they returned with glowing reports. Jesus must have had great confidence to entrust these relatively untested men and women with the same work that he had given to the twelve apostles. And he wasn’t disappointed!

This story tells us that Jesus is confident in each one of us. He doesn’t want to limit the work of the gospel to a few experts. Because his Spirit lives in us, we are all called and empowered to share his good news. None of us should feel inadequate or unqualified. Remember, it’s not so much what we do but what we allow the Spirit to do through us.

Often, it takes only a simple gesture to begin to reach out. Start small, and let the Spirit build your confidence. Intercede for someone you know. Try to perform two or three extra acts of kindness a day, and see what opportunities for evangelism open up. Who knows? Maybe you will make a positive, eternal difference in someone’s life.

Today the Church honours St. Francis of Assisi, the troubadour-turned-friar whose simple love for Christ unleashed a wave of renewal in the Church. A cursory look at him probably wouldn’t move us to imagine him becoming one of the great evangelists of the medieval Church. He was just a middle-class merchant’s son who enjoyed eating and drinking, and who dreamed of daring exploits. But once he heard God’s voice, he dedicated himself to sharing the joy of the gospel. He didn’t always get it right. He had a number of false starts and setbacks. But he kept trying and he kept learning, and God took care of the rest.

Let Francis’ example spur you on today. You have more to offer people than you think! Your kindness, your generosity, and your patience can make a difference in someone’s life. It can open doors for you to share about the One who loves you so much. According to one legend, Francis once told his brothers, “Preach the gospel at all times; use words when necessary.” Make this your motto today, and you just may find yourself “treading upon serpents.”

“Lord, you have given me so much joy. Help me bring that joy to those around me!”

Job 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17; Psalm 119:66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130

Father Ed Bakker 
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province 
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne 
Bendigo Australia