June Pastor’s Pondering

“I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”

Those words of John Wesley, also capture well the spirit of a true evangelist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They speak of the depth of passion and commitment which motivate individuals to set out upon journeys of a life-time proclaiming the salvific love of God as offered in the person of Jesus Christ.

St. Paul and Mr. Wesley had much in common.  They both found themselves preaching and teaching the Good News of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ to people who were at times receptive and at other times resistant – even combative.  They were men who traveled extensively for the sole purpose of saving souls:  Paul having journeyed an estimated 10,000 miles spanning the lands of the Middle East to Southern Europe – from Jerusalem, throughout the cities and villages of the Mediterranean Sea, stretching all the way to Rome.  And Mr. Wesley – oh my goodness, Mr. Wesley, logging a staggering 250,000 miles – most on horseback covering lands of the United Kingdom to the United States, from London, England to Savannah, Georgia.

Both men proclaimed the Gospel message in the face of difficult odds.  Paul, having been beaten and placed into chains and thrown in jail; Wesley, having had rocks thrown at him as he preached in the open air; having to be physically protected at times from those who would have none of his message.  Yet neither man would be distracted or discouraged.  For they were carrying out their callings.  Both men convinced of the importance of bringing people closer to God.  So, they continued their missions throughout their lives – the world before them as their parish.

Do we feel that same passion for the message of justification by faith through the grace of our God? Do we feel the same conviction that we have an obligation to share the Good News?  For both the Apostle Paul and Mr. Wesley, the mission of spreading the Gospel throughout the world was the greatest, most important mission a disciple of Jesus Christ could undertake.  For the very salvation of souls and the establishment of the Kingdom of God – a kingdom ordered by an attitude of love and servanthood – was what was at stake.  Their work – led by the movement of the Holy Spirit among the people – had ramifications which were both eternal and temporal.  For the message they would preach was meant to save souls eternally and change lives today!

The world still needs to hear their message.  People from all walks of life still need to experience the life changing and life saving love which God has for them in the person of Jesus Christ.  For the world would certainly be a better place today, if the love of God and the love of neighbor were the norm among the people.

The world is each of our parishes!  We all are called to do our part.  May we be inspired in our hearts by St. Paul and Mr. Wesley; and may the Holy Spirit give us the passion and the power to continue their mission!

The world is our parish!  Amen.

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