But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit. (Romans 15:16)
Last Friday evening marked the end of another fruitful year of the CMCC Bible Study Program (BSP). How appropriate it was that we concluded our study of the Letter of Romans with St. Paul’s exhortation for those proclaiming the Good News of the Lord to see their ministry of evangelization as a ”priestly service of the gospel of God” that turns the unbelievers into sacrifices sanctified by the Holy Spirit and acceptable to God (cf. Rom 15:16).
Evangelization is priestly because it is a sacrificial act in which the evangelizer is the celebrant and the unbelievers the sacrifice. Having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, they become spiritual offerings that are pleasing and acceptable to God!
Evangelization is liturgical because through its visible catechetical rites and activities, the unbelievers receive the invisible grace of wisdom and faith, and are granted the priceless privilege of becoming sons and daughters of God!
My fellow workers in the harvest fields of the Lord, let us work hard in performing "the priestly service of the gospel of God". But whether we choose to join or just sit on the sideline, the liturgy of evangelization has been unfolding for 2000 years, turning gradually all of mankind into spiritual offerings pleasing and acceptable to God!
Partly because of the excitement of sharing the above Pauline teaching, and partly because of physical exhaustion caused by the singing and festivity of the farewell celebration, I was unable to fall asleep Friday night until almost 4:30 a.m.! Three hours later, I woke up violently like a cardiac arrest patient jolted back into consciousness by his surgeon. Shocked and disoriented, I was devastated to discover that my ride to a weekend retreat was already waiting for me on my driveway!
In spite of the mishap, for which I have only myself to blame, my heart is still bursting with delight and elation from last Friday; grateful for all the work that the BSP volunteers did to give us such a beautiful summer farewell; thankful to God for giving the BSP community the wonderful blessing of growing spiritually in the word of God for 12 consecutive years and counting. On behalf of the BSP Planning Committee, I’d like to express my heart-felt gratitude to all the BSP volunteers whose contribution and self-emptying have made the BSP do-able, sustainable, and fruitful.
Have a safe and blessed summer, all BSP volunteers and participants! Come September, we will gather again to pray and study the Psalms, through which the universal voice of mankind is raised in unison to express our longing to see God face to face!
NOTE: If you are interested in joining next year's BSP on the Psalms (our first meeting will be Friday, Sept 26, 2014), we are beginning to accept on-line registrations. Click this link to submit your registration: BSP On-Line Registration.