From Anointing to Action: Embracing Together our Christian Calling

A reflection inspired by the life of St. Anthony of Padua.

Today, we reflect on our core identity as Christians: sharing the Good News of salvation in words and action. Let us allow ourselves to be inspired and renewed in this mission through the words of the prophet Isaiah (61:1-3) and the Gospel message of Jesus Christ in Luke 10:1-9, which are the readings of the Memorial Mass of St. Anthony of Padua, whom the Church celebrates today.

The words of prophet Isaiah speak directly to our identity as Christians. Like Jesus, who was anointed after his baptism and quoted this prophecy of Isaiah at the beginning of his public ministry (cf. Luke 4:18-19), we too have received the Spirit of the Lord through our baptism and confirmation. This anointing signifies that we are called to a divine purpose.

The Purpose of the Anointing

Isaiah beautifully summarizes the purpose of our anointing: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings, to bring Good News to the poor, the lowly, the brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners, comfort those who mourn”. This is the essence of our Christian mission. But what does this mean for us in our daily lives as Christians?

Bringing Glad Tidings to the Lowly

We live in a world where people feel overlooked and undervalued. It is our mission to bring hope and encouragement to them, reminding them of their inherent worth and dignity as children of God. By simply being present to those who feel lowly, neglected, and abandoned, the voice that speaks hope into their lives actualizes this message of Isaiah.

Healing the Brokenhearted and Proclaiming Liberty to the Captives

Life is sometimes filled with pains and sorrows, and many around us carry heavy burdens, both visible and invisible. We need to be convinced that the anointing of the Spirit in us empowers us to be listening ears, compassionate hearts. In brief, we need to be agents of comfort and profound healing to those who are hurting.

We know that captivity comes in many forms: addiction, fear, depression, abuses, and injustice. Some people are imprisoned by their life circumstances, past mistakes, unforgiveness or feelings of guilt and shame. As Christians we are called to help others break free from whatever binds them by offering them human and spiritual support, prayer, and above all, leading them to a liberating encounter with Jesus.

The Good News is this: through Jesus Christ, we find forgiveness, redemption, and a fresh start. Our world needs to hear again and again that Jesus’ love and forgiveness are boundless. When we view ourselves and others through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, we cannot but be in awe of the depth of His love for us. Instead of being self-centered, we become more conscious of this divine love for us and the essence of our identity and mission.  We live out our calling by actively participating in Jesus’ mission, as exemplified in today’s Gospel reading.

The Power of Community in Fulfilling Our Mission

In the Gospel according to Luke, 10: 1-9, Jesus emphasizes the importance of community in carrying out the divine mission. He doesn’t send out the 72 disciples alone, but in pairs. This underscores the crucial role of collaboration and fellowship among believers in Christ. When we work together, our efforts to share the Good News become more efficient and impactful.  As the scripture reminds us, “where two or three are gathered in his name, there he is with them”, (Mt 18:20).  As disciples of Jesus, our strength lies in our unity and shared purpose. Divisions among Christians, on the other hand, weaken the credibility of our message.

The success of the mission entrusted to us by the Lord hinges on our reliance on the Holy Spirit and our collaboration with one another. The anointing we received helps us to make a difference in the world. May we embrace this calling with joy and determination, knowing that through us, God’s love and grace can reach those who need it most.

We pray that St. Anthoy of Padova, whose feast we celebrate today, intercede for us so that we may be renewed and strengthened to fulfill this divine mission. Amen!  

[Readings. For St. Anthony of Padua Memorial Is 61:1-3d; Lk 10:1-9; For Mass of the Day: 1 Kgs 18:41-46; Mt 5:20-26]

Fr. Alex Igbozuruike

Fr Alexius. C. IGBOZURIKE, is a priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is a chaplain at our Lady of Lourdes’ Sanctuary in France. To contact him, Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Lourdes, Maison des Chapelains, 1 Avenue Mgr. Théas, 65108, Lourdes Cedex, France. Email : [email protected]

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