Walking together with Jesus
3 July, 2022 14th Sunday Year C
Listen to Reflection
There’s much discussion at the diocesan and national levels about mission renewal in keeping with what Pope Francis has said, “The joy of the church is to evangelise”. In one way or another we’re all involved in this mission, and as the pope has reminded us, ‘mission has a centre and it has a face.’
It’s about Jesus, about others, as it is in today’s gospel, when Jesus sends out seventy-two followers to the towns and places he is to visit. From the first, when the harvest is mentioned, there’s an urgency about this sending out. The labourers are few so what should we do? He will send workers if we ask, but what if this means you and I will have to offer ourselves?
As the gospel emphasizes, we’ll only be able to do this if we depend on the Lord and each other, for Jesus encourages us to walk together, to be sustained by one another. As we go, we’re left in no doubt about the challenges that await us, the lack of welcome, the opposition, but we’re to stay focused on the job at hand and not be distracted by money, or possessions, or the exchange of pleasantries.
As we enter each household the peace we offer isn’t simply a polite greeting, but a gift of God. Convey something of this peace and don’t expect any feel-good factor in return; and if you’re not accepted don’t start worrying, but stay open to it, let this peace sustain you. We’re to have confidence that whatever we need will be provided.
What else might we do? Offer some help, some healing, and know that ‘the kingdom of God is very near to you’ i.e., Jesus is alive, among us. Reach out to others and begin to discover this. And, if we’re not welcome somewhere, draw attention to it by shaking the dust from our feet, or some other action, so we might all get a chance to re-consider. Once again, it’s a reminder that for Jesus there is a sense of urgency in what he says: it’s a moment of truth.
When the seventy-two return full of joy at what has happened, Jesus reminds them that victory over Satan, our great accuser, will happen, and is already happening and they’ll be alright, which is to say we will be alright, because the ‘sending out of them’ means we’re all involved in this. And it’s not a question of what we might be able to do so much as what God is able to do through us.
The joy of the gospel is there in the psalm and the first reading from Isaiah, but now Jesus is alive, in our midst; and if he rises with the wounds on his body then it brings us to the cross, which is Paul’s only boast in the second reading.
In him is revealed God’s love for us, which we’re sent out to give away: it’s our mission.
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