St. Therese of the Missions

Luke 10: 1-12
Neh 8: 1-4a,5-12 / Psa 19

The harvest is rich, but the workers are few.
(Luke 10:2)

For the Lord we do not question
This sacrifice we undertake,
If we are sent on a mission
It is God’s grace for our own sake.

Jesus appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He intended to visit. He told them, “The harvest is rich, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is at hand.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” (Luke 10: 1-12)

Reflection

Our Lord had to maximize the work of His mission by deputizing 72 other disciples who went ahead of Him to various villages and towns proclaiming the kingdom of God. He established this evangelistic tradition of the Church, which His missionaries have followed for thousands of years up to the present day. He advised them to pray for God’s help; to be cunning, as the mission is fraught with danger; to be detached from all material things, and just depend on God; and to bring His message of peace.

Today is the first day of the month of mission. Our Church commemorates this day in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as “The Little Flower of Jesus”, and the patron saint of missions. She and her three sisters were dedicated by their parents to the service of God, and all became cloistered nuns in a Carmelite convent. Being the youngest, St. Therese was refused admittance by the Carmelite Superior and the bishop as a novice because she was only 14 years old. On a pilgrimage to Rome with her father and an audience with the pope, she broke protocol and begged the pope’s intercession for her vocation. Impressed by her determination, the Vicar General interceded on her behalf, and she was accepted as a novice in the Carmelite convent. St. Therese never went on a mission, but the hundreds of prayers and letters that she wrote in support of the missionaries of the Church brought her the recognition that she had always avoided. She never aspired to achieve great deeds, but her numerous little sacrifices inspired thousands to imitate this “Little Flower of Jesus” on her path to holiness. Her severe illness led to her death at the young age of 24. Let us honor St. Therese by following her example when we are called to serve in our community, or simply to give witness to our conversion. Let her be our model as we strive to be pure and faithful to God’s will. As St. Paul said, “Stand firm and never submit again to the yoke of slavery (sin)… Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.” (Gal.5:1,17) Let us pray to St. Therese, that in this battle against evil, our spirit may be victorious, and be true to our life’s mission.

Keep always before me, Lord, so that I may never be shaken, for in You my heart is glad, my soul rejoices, my body dwells secure. Show me the right path (Psalm 16:9-11) that I may persevere in serving You until the end of this earthly journey. Amen.

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