Witnesses to These Things

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Today’s Good News, July/August 2016

Jesus repeatedly affirmed that he had come to do God’s work and was empowered by God’s Spirit to save people by sharing God’s love with them. Jesus lived out his mission by bringing good news to the poor, setting captives free and curing the sick, which often meant more than healing physical illness. Leprosy, for instance, not only caused people bodily suffering in Jesus’ day but also ostracized them from society. As Jesus cured people of the disease, he also reconnected them to their communities.

The early Church continued Jesus’ mission. Energized by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles boldly proclaimed the Good News in word and deed. As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, there’s a sense of urgency and even obligation among those early followers to share God’s love because of what they have seen up close and personal with Jesus. On one occasion in the face of opposition, Peter explained the reason for his mission of mercy: “We must obey God. We are witnesses to these things!” (Acts 5:32)

In this issue we meet some of today’s “witnesses” of the Good News. Father Kevin Conroy, a Maryknoll priest associate, continues Jesus’ healing ministry in Cambodia, helping people with mental illness to find treatment and understanding in their communities. In the same Asian country Maryknoll Sister Mary Little and her team bring the good news of a brighter future to the poorest children through education. In Brazil the work of Maryknoll Lay Missioner Joanne Blaney restores right relationships between crime victims and their assailants.

Like the Apostles, these missioners have a sense of urgency to proclaim the Good News through their lives of service.

At baptism we too became missionary disciples of Jesus and “witnesses” to the things Jesus said and did. As such, we are called not only to proclaim God’s faithfulness in our lives but also to name the injustices in our world and work to restore wholeness. Compelled by God and empowered by the Spirit, we’re invited to bring good news to the poor, set captives free and cure the sick. In taking these risks, we’re assured that Jesus accompanies us and that God’s Spirit will give us all we need to be faithful. How will we respond?


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About the author

Robert Jalbert, M.M.

Father Robert A. Jalbert served four years in the U.S. Air Force as a Russian linguist in Italy and Turkey before earning a B.A. in English Literature from Holy Apostles Seminary College in Cromwell, Connecticut. He entered the Maryknoll novitiate in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1973, and after training in Tanzania earned his M.Div. in Theology from Maryknoll School of Theology, New York, where he was ordained in 1979.