Continuity and Expansion

Memorial of St. Andre Bessette

1 John 3:22-4:6; Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

Continuity and Expansion

Today we hear the story of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. John was in prison, and Jesus continued and expanded John’s ministry.

First, he called people to repent and to live in the reign of God. This was the continuation of John’s ministry.

Next, he expanded John’s ministry. John announced the advent of the Kingdom of God. Jesus was the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. He preached God’s word. He taught God’s ways. He brought God’s healing to those who were oppressed in body, mind and spirit.

What Jesus began we are called to continue. We announce the reign of God. We share the word of God. We discern and we teach God’s will and ways. We bring God’s healing to those who suffer in mind, body and spirit.

We do this in different ways. While we share a fundamental vocation from our baptism, our particular vocations depend on the gifts that God has given us. Over the past couple of days, the Church has remembered saints who fulfilled their vocations in various ways:

  • Elizabeth Seton was a wife and mother who eventually founded a religious congregation and devoted her ministry to Catholic education.
  • John Neumann was an immigrant who became a priest, a religious, and the Bishop of Philadelphia. He established many parishes and schools.
  • Andre Bessette was a religious brother. He served as a porter at the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal for 40 years. His holiness and hospitality were his gifts.

In our first reading, John tells us to “test all spirits.” We pray that our ministries will always give glory to the Father, carried out in the love and the humility of the Son, and directed by the Holy Spirit. Saints Elizabeth, John and Andre, pray for us! –jc