"A lay Catholic perspective"

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Amen, Hallelujah!

by Theresa Burke


The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go (Lk 10: 1).

T HESE WORDS, my Church teaches me, are meant to be as relevant today as they were when the evangelist wrote them. But how could they possibly apply to my life? Isn't teaching and preaching the job of the bishops and the priests, or even that new crop of Catholic lay evangelists? As a wife and mother and daughter and sister and working person and parish member, my life is filled to overflowing with the day-to-day business of meeting deadlines, honoring commitments and performing the basic tasks that are dictated by my various life roles. Where is the time and the energy to do what Luke seems to be suggesting, to go out and spread the message of salvation?

Archbishop Leonard Wall recently addressed this very issue during a talk he gave to the young people of our parish who were assembled to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The youth, as well as those of us "listening in," were privileged that evening to hear God's word come alive as the Archbishop eloquently explained the commission of adult Christians who receive the powerful gift of the Holy Spirit through this reaffirmation of their baptismal vows. These young men and women are now in a unique position to be able carry the love of God into situations where only they have access, especially to other teenagers who so desperately need the freedom and the security of the Gospel in their lives. Our "confirmed" kids are, primarily in they way they behave, the very presence of Jesus Christ in their world.

What a remarkable insight I was given that evening by our Archbishop who implored us to be his feet and eyes and ears and mouthpieces in those places where Jesus "intends to go!"

Only I am able to treat my family with love and forgiveness, to be attentive and available to my friends, to be of service in my parish, to behave with kindness and integrity in my workplace, to be generous and accepting in my neighbourhood.

Suddenly my role as a lay person in the Church took on a new and tangible meaning. By living the Gospel right where I am, I am performing an essential service in the kingdom of God, one that can only be carried out by me by virtue of the special one-of-a-kind gifts with which I have been endowed by God. I need to remember that I am surrounded on a daily basis by people who are seeking the faith and peace and joy that I often take for granted. To be God's messenger and his representative is both a privilege and an awesome responsibility, made possible by the same power invested in those seventy-two disciples who came back rejoicing (cf. Lk 10:17).