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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Preaching Without Words

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to preach forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind, to release the broken into forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution.

Luke 4:18-19

When he finished reading this passage, Jesus tells his audience, this passage has been fulfilled in their hearing. He is God who has become man so those who have no hope will have hope. This fulfills what is said about Jesus, “God with us”.

These actions Jesus mentions are what he does in his ministry. Disciples of Jesus are called to imitate him in doing these acts of mercy which are not mere mechanical action that we do to gain access to heaven. These are proofs of our relationship with Jesus. They should, in fact, be Christ’s actions through us. If we read the passage carefully, there are three instances where the words “preach” or “evangelize” are mentioned. This means that we must preach the good news when we do these acts of mercy.

The good news we preach is: “God is with us”. God is with the poor, the sick, those in prison, the broken-hearted and no matter how bad things are, God is with them through these difficult times and will never abandon them.

A lot of times, preaching is done without words. Our mere presence is enough. There is drop in center for the poor here in Victoria. Their “family members” are the urban poor, the homeless, the addicts and probably prostitutes, basically, those neglected by society. The drop-in center has volunteers whose role is to just be there and listen to those who want to talk. The family members do not talk to these volunteers because they need advice or help, they talk to the volunteers because they need to interact with a soul, someone who is willing to listen to them.

These volunteers do not counsel or advice or help. They are there, to listen and share their time and in that way, tell the “family members” they are precious and despite their condition God still loves them.

This is an important ministry because it proclaims God presence and love without saying a word.

The next time we see someone suffering or hurt, it will be tremendous help to them, if we can just be present to them. Be there and be silent and listen. This is probably the best preaching we can ever to do those who are hurting.

Lord, teach us to be silent to hear the cries of the poor.

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