January 30, 2017
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
"Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.
Today's Gospel tells us of a man who experiences the healing of Jesus in a powerful way. Possessed and tortured by demons, he is cured instantly at the words of Jesus, ordering the demons to flee. The man is filled with awe and gratitude, and he wants to respond in a way that matches the dramatic transformation of his healing. He wants to follow Jesus wherever He goes, to leave everything behind and become a missionary. But Jesus does not permit him to follow. Instead, He tells the man to go home to his family and tell them what the Lord has done for him. And the man humbly obeys.
Sometimes, we think that living a truly Christian life means doing something big and dramatic, something unusual and astonishing that will make everyone take notice. But often our grand mission lies in the seemingly mundane tasks that lie before us each day. Our vocation begins with being truly present in this very moment, recognizing that God asks us to respond to Him right where we are. Perhaps someday we might be asked to do something more dramatic for God, but it is only by being attentive to the small moments of grace that we will be ready to respond in the monumental ones to come. And in the meantime, we might just discover the extraordinary hidden within the mundane.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was aware of this truth: for him, it was not one big event that led him to sainthood but a series of daily decisions. He attended to each aspect of his everyday life with love and joy, and he integrated habits of service and prayer into his normal routine. He achieved peace and sanctity by seemingly ordinary means, and all of these habits prepared him to stand firm through the final trial of his illness and death. From Pier Giorgio, we can learn the value of persevering in holiness within our ordinary lives. We might not be called to be missionaries to far-flung regions of the world but instead to our families and friends and coworkers. Let us enter wholeheartedly into the mission field of our ordinary lives and love the people we encounter every day.