Reflections

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, JULY 7, 2019 

Rejoice Because Your Names Are Written In Heaven
1. Disciples Must Be Missionaries
2. Without Means of Power 

Introduction
1. Disciples Must Be Missionaries
How many people belong to our Church? Catholics number less than 18% of the world population. Yet Luke says that Jesus tells us today: “The harvest is rich but there are few labourers. Pray to the Lord to send us harvesters.” And then, whom does Jesus send? Not just the leaders, but the disciples too, every baptised. And where are they sent? To all nations and to all peoples, for they are seventy-two, as many as there were peoples known in those days. And how are they sent? In all humility receiving the people’s hospitality and kindness and proclaiming to them the Kingdom of God. Let us ask Jesus to make us suitable messengers. 

2. Without Means of Power
When Jesus sends out his disciples, they are not sent with powerful means to impress people with or, like politicians, to buy their allegiance. No force, no money, not even people who are influential, renowned and learned. Just simple disciples, ordinary people. They have to go out with no other riches than the Good News of Jesus, his message of joy to the poor. They also should not be choosy to whom they go: in all simplicity they present themselves to anyone willing to listen, depending on the good will of people and their hospitality. Let us become missionaries of Jesus by the way we live. 

First Reading: A River of Peace
In times of war and trials, a prophet says boldly: God is our mother who will give us peace. We are dandled upon his laps of calm and safety.

1 Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14c
Thus says the LORD: Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort. When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants. 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!” R.

“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam. R.

He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever. R.

Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness! R.

Second Reading: We Must Become New in Christ
Even when we have to suffer, like the Lord, we can have peace, if we try to become new and better in Christ. 

2 Reading: Galatians 6:14-18
Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen. 

Alleluia: Colossians 3:15a, 16a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel: Jesus Sends Out His Disciples
Jesus sends his disciples into the world to bring to all those willing to listen the message of God’s peace. Those who welcome this message will have peace. 

Gospel: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the labourers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the labourer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.” The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 

Commentary
Scholars have exercised all their ingenuity on the number 72 (and on 70, which is the number given in other versions). Could these be references to Genesis 10? or to Exodus 18? etc. But someone has suggested that it may be the sum total of followers that Jesus had at that time! Whatever about numbers, the significance of the passage is clear: all followers of Jesus are sent out to proclaim the Good News. In the previous chapter, Luke had described the sending out of the Twelve. The instructions that Jesus gave to the 12 and to the 72 are practically the same.
You could say that in our time the parable of the lost sheep is reversed: there is one lone sheep in the sheepfold and the ninety-nine are lost! Moreover, the shepherds spend all their time looking after the one sheep!
Every follower of Christ is called to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Even reluctant followers! To the man who was making excuses for not following, Jesus said, “Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9:60).
Do you need a diploma in catechetics? No! Not one of the 70 had a diploma of any kind—nor any of the Twelve. Jesus himself had no diplomas or degrees. But what you have to have is love. If you love genuinely, you are a missionary: you are going out of yourself. If you go out to even one stranger you are, in a way, going out “to the whole world.” And if you go out to an enemy, you are standing on the highest peak of the Christian life. 

Blessing
The message of today
should stir the People of God
—all and each of us—
to become a missionary Church,
open to all, reaching out to all,
because only Christ and his gospel
can bring real joy and true peace.
We are all part of that Church
and so our task is to make visible
that Christ is alive among us.
May almighty God bless you for this mission:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Go in the peace of Christ
and share that peace with all. R/ Thanks be to God. 

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