Joy in Discipleship

1.26.18  Fri.  Wk 3 –O.T. – (II)
Feast of Sts. Timothy and Titus
2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy
Gospel  Luke 10:  15 – 9

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 laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers 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 laborer 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.’  The Gospel of the Lord.


Homily:  Fr. Mike Murphy                       Joy in Discipleship

In today’s holy readings we find the disciples of †Jesus on mission.  They are communicating to the world the Good News; calling the people to the land of eternal freedom and the kingdom of eternal life.  When the 72 returned from their mission they were filled with joy.  The joy they felt upon returning is meant to be ours.  It is attainable, it is possible.  In fact, this is a joy that has already begun.  We have inherited a 3-fold joy: the joy of being co-workers with †Christ, the joy of boasting in the cross of †Christ, and the joy of assurance of eternal life.

The disciples rejoiced at what they had been able to accomplish on their mission.  They were collaborating in the work of †Jesus.  The most joyful people I know are those who share in the work of †Jesus.  They do not do this for selfish reasons but only for the privilege of working, side by side, with the Lord.  To do the work of the Gospel out of obligation is to find no joy or peace in it; it becomes a burden.  To imitate the Master, is to know a deep and lasting joy, like a child who imitates a parent, working alongside mom or dad; there is laughter, peace, and security.

The joy we inherit as disciples is the joy of boasting in the Cross of †Christ.  On yesterday’s feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, we reflected on how Paul grew spiritually after his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus.  His eyes were opened to the truth of the Cross; from seeing it as a scandal, to recognizing the Cross as necessary for salvation.  Through sacrifice and surrender we become a new creation.  In St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, he wrote:  “Let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of †Jesus in my body” (Gal.6:17).   Paul’s peace could not be undone.  He had become one with †Jesus.  Spiritual joy comes from union with †Jesus, in His death and resurrection, living the truth of our faith as Saints Timothy and Titus did.

We are called to rejoice in the assurance of eternal life with God; working side by side with †Jesus united us to His suffering.  United with Him in this way, assures us of unity with Him in heaven, as †Jesus said to the thief on cross: “This day you are with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).   United in His death, unites us in His resurrection.

This is the journey of discipleship that is the road to holiness.  It is a joyful journey, but not always a pleasurable journey.  †Jesus cautions us not to get so involved in our successes with good works, that we forget our real purpose.  As He said to the 72 disciples when they returned: “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19-20).  Visible success is not the criteria.  We may fail in worldly terms as †Jesus did.  The goal is eternal life with our loving God; for us and for all people.  Without this, what is the purpose of all we accomplish in life?  †Jesus, Mary and Joseph are waiting for us at the side of Father, the Holy Spirit, Timothy and Titus and all the angels and saints.  This is the goal of our mission in life; we must keep it always in mind.  Stay close to the Eucharist; it unites us to heaven and earth through the body and blood of †Christ.  When we receive the Eucharist we have a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.  Today we are called to focus on these joys: the joy of being co-workers with †Christ, the joy of boasting in the cross of †Christ, and the joy of assurance of eternal life.  They are at the heart of discipleship. As †Jesus said to His disciples:  “I have told you this, so that my joy may be in you, and your joy to be complete” (John 15:11).

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.