Sunday, September 11, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22B-27

Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach, I offer the Gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the Gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race,
but only one wins the prize?
Run so as to win.
Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.
They do it to win a perishable crown,
but we an imperishable one.
Thus I do not run aimlessly;
I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.
No, I drive my body and train it,
for fear that, after having preached to others,
I myself should be disqualified.

Diakonos – The Greek word from where we get the word Deacon. Diakonos meant “table waiter”. They were men ordained by the Twelve to wait tables while they offered prayer for the faithful. Wait tables is exactly what a deacon does at Mass.

First, the deacon greets the guests – “Peace be with you.”

Second, the deacon reads us the menu – “A reading….the Gospel of the Lord.”

Then the deacon sets the table – he places the bread and pours the wine.

The deacon then holds the wash bowl and towel for the priest to wash his hands.

The deacon elevates the precious blood.

The deacon is the main distributor of the precious blood when the Eucharist is offered under both species.

The deacon does the dishes – purifies the vessels after the Eucharist has been distributed.

Lastly, the deacon dismisses the guests – “Go forth, our Mass has ended.”

In this way the deacon performs his duties as table waiter for God’s Holy Table, the altar.

The deacon is also the primary proclaimer of the Gospel. It is a deacon’s responsibility to preach the Gospel. This reading from Saint Paul is a direct charge to the deacon. An obligation has been imposed on him to preach the Gospel willingly, without charge, without boasting, joyfully for all to hear. Deacon, nicely translated as servant, are really slaves to those they minister to. They are to bring the Word of God everywhere they go. They are to proclaim it joyfully for all to hear so that some may be saved by the Word.

As Saint Paul suggests, let us train our minds and our bodies so that we may proclaim the Gospel in all that we say and do. Let the Word not only pass from our lips but through our actions and by the way we live our lives. Let us not find it burdensome or view it merely as an obligation. As table waiters let all deacons prepare an inviting and joyous table for the Feast of the Lord, bringing to it people who have never feasted before. There is much rejoicing in heaven when a new person is brought into the family of God.

The Permanent Deacons from the Rockford, Illinois Diocese class of 2014. Twenty-one men ordained to preach the Word of God.
This is the largest class of permanent deacons in diocese history.

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