Kathy Bernard - Publisher

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. 
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matt: 28-19

The Lord asks in Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I send?  Then I said, ‘Here am I!  Send me’.”

Even today in this year of 2005, Jesus is still looking for modern day disciples among us.  As Christian Catholics we are challenged to step up and honor His request; we are challenged to do the divine work of leading others to belief, to bring redemption to those lost in a sin filled world.  For us, there are no options but to forge ahead, pointing the way.  We need only a committed spirit, willingness, and dedication to guide others to a spiritual maturity in Christ.

We are God's stewards, tending to the Vineyard of humanity.  A labor of love, it is recompense for the blessings we continue to receive from God.   Romans 10:15 tells us  “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News of Good Things.” 

So how can we do this?  Is this a 24/7 job or can we work at it part time?  Most of us say “too busy, we cannot spare the time”, “I feel funny witnessing to others” or the most common one is “people may get mad if I talk about our Lord”. Well, the bible tells us that if we set ourselves as a living example of Christianity, showing love and compassion, empowering others to share the Word of Christ, we will always find an opportunity to further His message, whether verbally or by the way we live our lives.

Don’t be afraid to bear witness.  Don’t be content to sit back and let others do the work.  It is not enough to attend church, to share in the sacraments and then beome solitary; locking God's precious promises in our own private "safes".   Yes, there will be those who will not want to know about God’s gift of eternal life.  Yes, people will have a shield that automatically comes up when we try to bring God’s gospel to them.  Many times they will become suspicious, distant, and indignant.  Some will listen patiently but with great difficulty, others will mentally shut down, and some will find an excuse to sidle away.  Still, we must never let the opinion or actions of others deter us from the commandment of Jesus to go into the world and spread His word.  As Christ told the Apostles in Mark 5:11,  “If any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”

In St.Matthew 4:19 Jesus told Peter and Andrew his brother,  "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."   This is what He is asking us to do; to become fishermen in our neighborhoods, in our work places, and in all walks of life.  We can be disciples in music ministry, give hope to the sick, prepare a meal for the poor, volunteer time at church by serving at the altar, or spend a few hours helping in the church office. 

Today, we are not under the threat of death for our beliefs.  But let us not forget the fates of Jesus' Apostles: Peter was crucified upside down, Mathew was martyred or axed to death, Andrew was beaten and crucified, James, son of Zebedee was beheaded, Bartholomew was beaten and crucified, James, son of Alphaeus, was stoned or clubbed to death, Mattias was also stoned to death,  John was tortured and died alone in exile on Patmos for his faith, Judas, not Iscariot, was killed by stoning, Philip was crucified, Simon was crucified, and Thomas was speared to death.  These men died for their beliefs.  Why?   Because they knew first hand, the deity of our Lord Jesus and were determined to make sure the way to the Lord's salvation would continue through the ages.

We are the new disciples of the 21st Century.  We have been commissioned by the power, authority, and blood of Jesus Christ.   Unless we speak of the Lord’s righteousness and His goodness, there will be those who will be lost.  WE ARE the keepers of the word; it is not to be kept to ourselves but to be shared.  Ours are the hands and the voices that God uses.  Therefore, unless our lips speak salvation, unless our lips declare His righteousness, the unbelieving world will not know how to be saved.  And so, faith comes with hearing the word of God.  When we speak of Christ and His promises, ALWAYS be careful to give God the glory and the honor. We are simply His messengers.  Our job is to point the way and be an example.  There is no room here for self-importance or pride.  Humbleness and willingness is the key.  See Acts 1-25  which reads “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.”

Do not be afraid to give back the abundant blessings you receive.  Always be mindful that God does not call us to this great work of discipleship and then not give us what we need for the job.  Earthly qualifications are not required.  Faith and belief are the tools needed. God has given us dominion over His creation, and most importantly He has given us the job of winning souls for His kingdom.  We are His instruments.  Jesus tells us in St. Mark 16:15 to "go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation".  And He showed us the way.   
If we can encourage just one person to come to faith, the heavens will rejoice.  In Luke15: 8-10 it says,  “What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.'  Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

We must be willing to help our brothers and sisters who are stumbling in a world of darkness.  If we long to make heaven our home someday, if it is our desire to please the Lord, if it is our sincere prayer to be acceptable in His sight, then our lives must be filled with the things He taught us to do.  One day we will meet Jesus face to face and He will ask us if we spread His word about salvation.    One day we will be asked to give an accounting of ourselves as His shepherds.  One day He will ask if we brought even one sheep to the fold.   

“Whom shall I send?” the Lord continues to ask us as Christian Catholics. Would you say, “Oh, Lord not me, or will you say, “Here am I, Lord!  I don’t have much education and I don’t have money, but I am willing and able.  I believe in You and all Your promises.  I submit myself to You.  Send me.”

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"
Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." Isaiah 6:8

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