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Be Bold. Be Local.
Gospel Reflection Second Sunday of Advent 12/4/22
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
I often write to the writers of Missio Dei about the importance of being the face of Missio Dei at their local parish and in their communities. The most important place to preach the gospel is where we have the greatest influence and physically inhabit. St. Jerome makes the point regarding this passage, “Consider how the salvation of God, and the glory of the Lord, is preached not in Jerusalem, but in the solitude of the Church, in the wilderness to multitudes.”1
Too often, Catholics become so absorbed with what’s going on in Rome. And too often, Americans become so absorbed with what’s going on in Washington that we forget that it is at the local level where we, as individuals, can affect the greatest positive change—Subsidiarity.
Do you preach the gospel in the more intimate places of your life?
In what ways do you preach the gospel? Do you preach it like John the Baptist?
John wore clothing made of camel's hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
I remember being at a diocesan event marveling at the “wild man” John the Baptist with a group of men. One gentleman remarked, “we have too many wild men in the Church.” In retrospect, I believe the gentleman misunderstood my comment on the “wild man” John the Baptist. What I meant to convey is that we need more men to be bold about their faith in Jesus Christ.
John didn’t have to go to Jerusalem to get the attention of the Jewish leadership. The boldness of his call to repentance to prepare the way of the Lord brought them to him. Do you worry too much about the state of the Catholic Church? Do you worry too much about national politics? The truth is that there is nothing I can write here or record on the webcam about the Catholic Church that will have a greater influence than my boldness at my parish. There is nothing on the internet, or social media, for instance, that I can do that is a greater influence than my boldness in preaching the gospel in my local community.
And there is no greater mission than being a Dad, the head of my domestic church, and boldly leading my family to heaven. May God give me the grace needed to live out this mission.
Where do you have the greatest influence in the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ? Proclaim it.
Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 92.