10.5.17 Thurs. wk. 26 – O.T. – (I)
1st Rdg . Nehemiah 8: 1 – 4a, 5 – 6, 7b – 12
Gospel – Luke 10: 1 – 12
After this 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,g9cure 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 Gospel of the Lord.
Fr. Mike Murphy The Journey of the Disciple
Today, we read in the Gospel: “†Jesus appointed 72 other disciples whom He sent ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place He intended to visit.” (Luke 10:1) So the disciples were sent out to prepare the way for †Jesus. They were to represent Him to the people and to generate excitement about †Jesus coming into their town, because His reputation had spread already throughout all of Judea. As the disciples showed up, as His advance team, so to speak, the people would become excited that †Jesus was coming. They would prepare to bring the sick to Him, and get ready to listen to His words of comfort, because He brought such joy and consolation to the people. So there was a lot riding on the work of the disciples. It was vital that they prepare the people by their words and their actions. As †Jesus was humble and simple, the disciples had to be humble and simple. As †Jesus was compassionate, merciful and loving, so the disciples had to become compassionate, merciful and loving.
All of us sitting here this morning, as 21st-century disciples of †Jesus, how well do we represent Him? Are we simple? Are we humble? Do we express mercy, compassion and love just as †Jesus does? Are we true imitators of the Lord?
The Gospel today describes how we are to represent Christ who is coming back; how we are to be His disciples, how we are to prepare the world for the coming of †Jesus. We read in this Gospel of Saint Luke: “Seventy-two were sent out to the towns †Jesus intended to visit.” What Luke is saying to us is: Disciples get off your duffs, get out there; you’re not to be sitting in front of the television becoming couch potatoes. You’re to go out and talk about †Jesus and let people know how wonderful He is. We are to proclaim the Good News to the world and we are to do so – joyfully, not begrudgingly. From the book of Nehemiah, Ezra, the priest tells the people: “Do not be sad this day, rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.” (8:10) Be happy, there’s no such thing as a sad saint. We are to touch the lives of all we meet and joy gives us our opening. People want to be around those who are happy, not sad-sacks. So the disciple must be happy, because when we are happy it is a sign that we are free of all constraints, we are not caught up in our ego, our reputation or anything like that. The only way to love freely and unconditionally as †Jesus does – is to love with joy, and to get out there and do it.
†Jesus says to the disciples: “Carry no money bag.” (Luke 10:4) †Jesus is to be our support, His Word is our primary support, and the Lord will supply what we need. (Did you ever hear of Mother Teresa ever having a “fundraising drive’? She never had a ‘capital campaign either.’
The Lord said: “Carry no sack.” (Luke 10:4) A sack is like a backpack in which they would carry their cloths or their food. What †Jesus is saying is: ‘Trust in me and I will be your sustenance, I will give you all that you need.’
“Carry no sandals.” (ibid) (Now recall, when Moses approached the burning bush he took off his sandals because he recognized he was on holy ground.) The work of the disciple is holy work; it’s God’s work. And we must reverence everyone we meet and recognize the presence of God in every person that we meet (just as Moses recognized the presence of God in the burning bush and took off his sandals).
“Greet no one along the way.” (ibid) †Jesus is not directing us to be antisocial, but we are not to waste time on trivial things, like idle chatter or gossip, but we are to remain focused on the mission at hand.
Then the Lord says: “First say: ‘Peace be upon this household.’” (Luke 10:5) The disciple is never to create division; we are to bring the ‘Peace of Christ’ to the world. We must be gentle to all those we meet. Not everyone will agree with us or agree with our message. We don’t argue with them. We become people of peace, we love them, we are patient, we are peaceful with them, and remember that God loves them just as He loves us.
So whether you like it or not, you are a disciple of †Jesus; it comes with Baptism. We are a Missionary Church. Now we may want to runaway from this mission, but remember we are to proclaim this message:
“The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
And when the Lord comes we don’t want to meet Him empty-handed.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.