26 January 2007

Bold Lambs Among the Wolves

Ss. Timothy and Titus: 2 Tim 1.1-8 and Luke 10.1-9
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St. Albert the Great Priory and Church of the Incarnation


Good morning, Lambs! And if there are any wolves here dressed in lamb’s wool, good morning to you as well! Our Lord has sent us, the Lambs, to bring to those who need him his freedom and care. He has sent us out to bawl and bark the Word of the Father’s mercy to us—to frighten the spirits of illness and turmoil, to unnerve and expose the agents of spiritual slavery and vice. Our Lord has sent us out as teachers of a powerful Way, and charged us with not only talking about him and his Good News to others but he has also charged us with being him and his Good News for others. It is not enough to whisper the stories of his healing miracles or sing the stories of his travels with his merry band of brothers. Our Lord did not send us among the wolves to teach them history or biography; he did not send us among the unbelieving to entertain them with scripts and skits. We are sent out, cast away like ripening seed, to spread like kudzu and crab grass, a sincere faith, a confident trust in the truth of the Father’s gift of mercy.

And it is for this reason, Lambs, that I remind you to stir into flame the gifts of God that you have received through your baptism, the graces of the Spirit that came to you in your dying and rising again in Christ. Paul teaches Timothy that God did not give the Apostles a spirit of cowardice but one of power and love and temperance. Through the imposition of his hands on Timothy, Paul laid on him a spirit, a trust, a commission, a witness; he laid on Timothy’s heart and mind a new way of being Timothy in the world, a more perfect Way of being Christ for others and all. And there is no room in the Christ-crowded heart for cowardice or guile, for ignorance or deceit, for flinching from hardship in His service or running from surrender to His will.

Therefore, do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord! Go on your way and proclaim the marvelous works of our God to all the wolves, all the unclean spirits, all the sick, injured, lost, beaten, imprisoned, and cast-out; to all the beautiful, the rich, the wise, the well-connected; all the overeducated, the comfortable, those captive to their stunted religious imaginations and those deluded by error and dissent. Take nothing with you but the Spirit given you b/c there is nothing you can take along that matters more than Christ himself. What you need is given as you need it, provided out of the abundance and generosity of those to whom you bring the Word. Bring your witness to them and listen to their witness to you. What you might need most at that moment is a Word of power spoken to your fainting heart…

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gifts of God that you have received through your baptism! Timothy and Titus, made bishops by the laying on of hands, received the gift of ecclesial leadership—teaching, preaching, governing—and they spread the seeds of Christ’s Good News everywhere their beautiful feet took them! Not all of us are called to be bishops. Most of us are called to do something far more difficult: to be Christ where we find ourselves; to be powerful witnesses to the transformative power of love and mercy; to be lambs speaking the truth among wolves who demand that we lie in order to live peacefully among them. Praise God that you have been made clean, washed spotless and bright in the waters of baptism. Praise God that you have not been given a spirit of cowardice but rather a spirit of power and love and temperance. Praise God for His banquet table, His altar of thanksgiving, where we eat and drink all that we need to do what He has asked to do and to be who He has made us to be.

Do not be ashamed of your testimony among the wolves! Shout out what Christ has done for you and dare the wolves to bare a single fang in defiance of that truth. We owe the wolves nothing but truth, b/c in the end, it’s all we have to give them.

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