Points Along the Journey. Homily for 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Why did Jesus decide to spend time when these were not Jewish territories. Is it perhaps that Jesus had a missionary idea in mind?
Tyre and Sidon is located in an area known as Phoenicia. Phoenicia was noted for their expertise in trade. From the map you can see that the trade routes of Phoenicia spread from the far western coast of Africa, along the African coast and Egypt, north along the southern coast line of Turkey. From cities such as Carthage, trade routes went further to Crete, Cypress and to Italy. Is it possible that Jesus thought if he could plant seeds of his message in Phoenicia, that the message would be spread among the trade routes?
This was certainly the strategy of Saint Paul. Saint Paul spread the message of Jesus to the southern coast of Turkey. Later he spread the message further in-land in Turkey as well as along the seacoast and cities of Greece. Ultimately St. Paul was trying to get to Spain. Spain was the equivalent of modern-day California. Rome was the center of politics and the military. Spain was the artistic and cultural center of the known world. Saint Paul felt that if he could get the message of Jesus to Spain, that message would spread out as the latest and greatest in terms of religion.
This provides the backdrop of what it means to be a missionary disciple. Missionary discipleship has three components:
- Motion – which is the journey itself
- Mindfulness – which involves paying attention to what God is doing in your life
- Motive – intentionality of your interior life
The first component is that we realize that we are on a journey. That includes all aspects of our life. We grow. We learn. We change. We meet various people. We have various experiences.
The second component is that we need to pay attention to these experiences. God speaks to us through them. Paying attention is what is known as the interior life. Tod Worner is a writer, speaker, professor, and practicing internal medicine physician. Tod has a passion for Catholicism, history, literature, and current events. He serves as Managing Editor of Bishop Robert Barron’s Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. In a recent Twitter feed, Tod writes about the various journeys that people are on. “Most people have a professional life & personal life. Many neglected or are unaware of the existence of the interior life.” They are like the half-hearted men mentioned in Psalm 119:113-120: “I have no love for half-hearted men. My love is for your law. You are my shelter, my shield; I hope in your Word.” The spiritual, religious or interior life doesn’t show up on their radar screen. Yet, Tod says that the interior life is critically important. “There is a difference between a personal life & an interior life. The interior life is where only you & God commune.”
What have been the significant events, moments, and people in your life along the journey? Do you remember them? Can you name them? People who do this are working on developing a deeper, interior life while on the journey. Pay attention to them. This is a third component of missionary discipleship. People with an interior life are intentional about their faith. They think about what God is doing in the day-to-day events in their life. They do the religious stuff.