Woe to us if we do not preach the gospel!
In the second reading we hear Paul talking about why we exist – to preach the gospel. The Lord calls us to be intentional disciples. We have an outreach represented in the parish, i.d.9:16, which was developed by Renewal Ministries. the i.d. stands for “intentional disciples,” and the 9:16 refers to this very passage from I Cor 9:16, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” We are plunged into the waters of rebirth in baptism and anointed with the sacred chrism. We are commissioned to spread the good news.
In today’s psalm response, “Praise the Lord who heals the broken hearted.” All of us are broken hearted in one way or another. The good news is that he heals us. St. Paul had a powerful transformative encounter with the Lord and he changed. He had been a persecutor, but became the most active evangelist the church had ever seen, preaching Christ crucified. He could not shut up about it.
We talk about the things we love. Do we talk about Jesus? But if we don’t perhaps we haven’t experienced his sacred heart of love healing us.
Fr. Steve refers to the priests’ retreat he attended last year in Florida, where he encountered the Lord’s healing power and was bonded to his brother priests. The attendees at the retreat had a deep encounter with the living love of God. When we have experienced that encounter we have got to share it with family and friends by, for example, asking if we can pray for them.
We receive only to give. If we haven’t had a healing encounter with the Lord, he wants us to experience that. The Lord has more for us. We should look for opportunities to share the good news. But woe to us if we do not preach the gospel.