May 1, 2013
Giotto/In the Public Domain
Jesus' Brief Time in Ministry
by Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M.
Jesus’ life can be divided into two parts. What is surprising is that, while he is the Son of God who came to redeem the world, he spent 90 percent of his life in the remote town of Nazareth. Only 10 percent or, at most, 30 months made up his public ministry, of preaching, healing, and teaching.
It is curious, too, that his headquarters was the town of Capernaum on the shore of the Sea of Galilee—not a bustling metropolis. Archeologists say there were no more that 1,000 to 1,500 inhabitants. In fact, it was so poor it did not even have its own synagogue.
As a result, there is a real lesson to be learned about our own lived experiences, and what might be important in our lives. People talk about making a mark on this earth. And, indeed, some do that with great political or economic power. Explorers in the past also did that by discovering new lands and trading routes.
We Do Not Walk Alone
Keep in mind the short time Jesus had to accomplish his mission on earth. Truth be told, his own life and short ministry remind us that the length of time is not the most important element of our journeys. We can say this because we do not walk alone. God is constantly with us.
One thing we believe is that God has a way of using us as “instruments of peace” to do good works. There are so many people who think that they accomplish very little on earth. There is nothing spectacular they can point to—no new medical breakthrough, no new piece of literature or work of art. But what about giving life to a single human being who has more value in the eyes of God than the entire universe?
The example of Jesus himself shows us that length of time is not of the essence. If we walk in faith and ask the Lord to use us as his instruments, then we can live our ordinary lives without working any miracles and simply trust that God will use us. If we have talents we think are miniscule, we must not forget what Jesus did in the little time he had. In fact, one percent of talent in God’s hands is beyond human estimation.
Remember how many words Mary spoke to become the Mother of God? One single word: “Yes.” One thing we have to remember, however, is that we may not even be aware of how the Lord uses us. God protects us from vanity, pride, and self-righteousness. That’s why our lives are lives of faith.
Here I Am, Lord
I believe that one of the eternal joys of heaven will occur when others come up to us and astound us with their words of gratitude for something we did for them. And we will be smiling at the surprised look on the faces of others when we offer our thanks to them.
In God’s hands, we cannot imagine what can be done in our lives. All we have to say is, “Here I am Lord. Use me.”
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