Homily
MISSION OF THE CHURCH

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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“The PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL is the reason for and the mission of the Church.” (Pope Benedict XIV) This is a continuation of the reason for and the mission of Jesus. “To the other towns also I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:44)

How does the Church proclaim the Gospel?

The Church proclaims the Gospel first and most fundamentally by writing and compiling the WRITTEN GOSPEL.

The Church had its origin in the EXISTENTIAL Gospel, the actual life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. (1-30)

The Church is the author and compiler of the WRITTEN Gospel, the New Testament. (51- 100) Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which it received at Pentecost, the Church wrote and compiled the New Testament.

The Church also proclaims the Gospel by the Liturgical Year. The Liturgical Year is the most constant and the most effective way the Church proclaims the Gospel. Each year the Liturgy celebrates all of the important events in the life of our Lord so that we can experience them again, understand them better, and model our lives on them. The Liturgical Year is a constant reminder that Christianity is not an abstract creed or code but a Person. Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life.” He came not only to redeem us but to give us an example of what it means to be authentically human. The Liturgical Year gives us an over-view of his life and teaches us how to live that life.

The Church also proclaims the Gospel by celebrating the Mass.

The Mass is a mosaic of the Gospel. Especially is this true in the:

LITURGY OF THE WORD which begins with a reading from the Old Testament. The Responsorial psalm is from the Book of Psalms. There is a reading from the New Testament and a reading from one of the Gospels.

LITURY OF THE EUCHARIST: “Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you.” “Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood which will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven.” “Do this in memory of me.” Matthew 26:26-28. Mark 14:22-24. Luke 22:14-20, 1Cor.11:23-26.

Because there are 24 different time zones in the world, the Church is celebrating the Mass and proclaiming the Gospel many times every minute of every day.

The Church also proclaims the Gospel by the Rosary. The Rosary is the Gospel in the form of a prayer. There are four sets of mysteries which reveal joy mingled with sorrow and crowned with glory. The Joyful Mysteries are: Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation and Finding in the Temple. The Luminous Mysteries are: Baptism of Jesus, Wedding Feast of Cana, Proclamation of the Coming of God’s Kingdom, Transfiguration, and Institution of the Eucharist. The Sorrowful Mysteries are: Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with thorns, Way of the Cross, Crucifixion and Death of our Lord. The Glorious Mysteries are: Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of the Holy Spirit, Assumption of Mary and Coronation of Mary.

The Church is also constantly preaching the Gospel through the lives of its members. The Good News is not something you can keep to yourself. To experience the Good News is to experience the urge to share it. Disciple and apostle are two sides of the same coin. Christian faith is indissolubly both an acceptance and a sharing of the revelation of Jesus.
We begin as DISCIPLES by accepting the invitation of Jesus, “Follow me” (John 1:43) Then we end as APOSTLES to fulfill His formal commission, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19)

In me, as in Jesus, the medium is the message. Whether I realize it or not I am constantly preaching the Gospel by the way I live. As the poet has it:

“Your actions each day proclaim a Gospel to all,
Be sure that the Gospel is true.
It is the only Gospel that some will read,
The Gospel according to you.

© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved