July 7, 2019 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Fr Jim Miller

Jul 8, 2019

 

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 IS 66:10-14C

Responsorial Psalm PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

  1. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Reading 2 GAL 6:14-18

Alleluia COL 3:15A, 16A

 Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 10:1-12, 17-20 

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 6 & 7, 2019

   The first reading from Isaiah helps us to have a greater understanding of God’s goodness and greatness as we are invited to see God in feminine terms as a nursing mother and hear God speak the words, “as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”  Whether you think of God as male or female this certainly suggests that God treats us with a mother’s love.  I certainly see God as male and female, both/and, meaning more inclusive than I can understand.

   The second reading is from Paul to the Galatians.  For Paul, all of the old way, good yet flawed as it was, has passed away.  The only religious practice that has value now is identification with Christ and his cross. 

   When Paul says that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision mean anything, he is telling his people that no work of the law makes any difference in the long run.  In other words, neither your righteousness nor your sin is decisive.  Your attachment to Christ is what makes all the difference.   I repeat, your attachment to Christ is what makes all the difference.

   Paul says he bears the marks of Jesus on his body.   According to Paul, if any of us is going to be proud of our skin, it should be for the scars left by suffering for the sake of Christ.  Nothing else has value.

   Today in the Gospel of Luke we hear Jesus commission the 72 disciples, a story Luke wrote as a complement to the mission of the 12 in Chapter 9.  Luke doesn’t often repeat stories.  If Luke gives us two renditions of the mission of his disciples, he has done so with something specific in mind.                 The most notable difference between the two accounts is the number of disciples Jesus sent.  In Luke 9, Jesus sent out the 12; now he sends 72.  Jesus goes into more detail about the mission of the 72 than he did for the 12.  In both cases, the missionaries are to travel light, heal the sick, and announce that the kingdom of God is at hand.  But with the 72, even as Jesus prepares them for the mission, he warns that they will be like lambs among wolves.  He then tells them to ask God to send additional workers to help with the harvest.

   One reason for Luke’s two accounts of the sending is that they reinforce the fact that Jesus’ mission began with his own people and was then to go out into the whole world.  Although the various lists of the apostles’ names do not always match, the main point is that they are 12, representing Israel with her traditional 12 tribes.  The 72 are, first of all, many more—and still not enough.  Secondly, according to the Septuagint’s translation of Genesis 10, 72 is the number of the nations of the world.  Luke’s point is that this mission involves the entire world.

   Seventy-two disciples are sent out along the road to Jerusalem, to all the places Jesus intends to visit on this last journey of his earthly life.  The disciples are given a message to proclaim and they are to proclaim it whether the communities they enter are receptive to them or not:  “the kingdom of God is at hand.”  There is an urgency to their task and because of this Jesus tells them to not be encumbered by material things.  They are to bring “no money bag, no sack, no sandals” and even more than that they are to “greet no one along the way.”  Nothing must dissuade them from this mission, the mission of announcing the kingdom of God.

   As Joseph Fitzmyer points out in his Anchor Bible Commentary, Luke constructed the dialogue between Jesus and the successful missionaries with great care.  Lest the disciples become intoxicated with their newfound powers, Jesus tells them, “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you.  But rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  The real point of the reign of God is union with God.  Power is a dangerous thing, but the assurance that God loves you and that you have a future with God is the antidote to getting hooked on power and puts the battle with evil in its proper perspective.

   For me union with God also means union with each other.   I hope that my retirement as pastor can lead me to grow in my union with God and all people as I encounter new opportunities for ministry.   Thanks again for your support the last five years.   You are going to like Fr. Andy Upah as your new pastor.  Give him your support.   Let us share the good news of the kingdom of God.

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