C Cycle – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 22
Lk. 10: 1-12, 17-20
As he begins his gospel, Luke says he has studied all things anew and has recorded them in an orderly sequence so that we may know the truth of what we believe. Luke has not only recorded the actions, the words and the events surrounding Jesus he is has given us a basis for our belief. This is important for us to grasp for it empowers us to act on what we believe. By our receiving the words of his gospel, we are transported by the Spirit to see, to hear and to respond to what is happening.
We become living witnesses and like any good book, movie or play we should become so engrossed in the story we feel and respond to the scene unfolding before us. The scriptures were given to us so we may have an encounter with God and his mercy, his forgiveness, and his plan for us. The scriptures demand a respond from us as we discover the heart of God. Unfortunately, we all too often hear a gospel story and quickly dismiss it because the story has nothing to do with our live today. Today’s gospel about the seventy-two who went out and performed miracles in the name of Jesus can be one of those stories we hear and ignore because it is not relevant.
Is it just a story that does not have a message for us? Or can it be a story about us and how we would respond to God if we were told to go and proclaim the kingdom? I would think at a minimum, curiosity would make us wonder where these seventy two who were sent forth that day. The scriptures do not reveal to us their names. It tells us nothing about how long they had been following Jesus, their sexes or what they did before they decided to follow Jesus. The scriptures do not tell us what motivated them to follow Jesus or if they like the disciples were invited to follow him. It does not tell us if they were following Jesus because they were healed of blindness, deafness, leprosy, lameness or even death.
Luke does not tell us if these seventy two were like the seventy known elders of the people Moses gathered so God could anoint them by taking a portion of the Spirit that was upon Moses and pouring it upon them (Num.11:25). Luke does not mention any anointing poured upon them, but he does tell us Jesus appointed them to go and proclaim the kingdom of God. We are not even told if these seventy two were filled with the spirit as were the seven men chosen by the disciples to aid them in serving the people (Acts 6:3).
What Luke does not tell us about them leaves us to believe they were ordinary men and women who heard the word of God proclaimed by Jesus and responded by following him. They are nameless; they are us, you, and me. People who believe enough to know there is more we can experience and more we can do to live our faith, so it impacts others. We are called to be disciples and disciples hear and feel the promptings of the Spirit moving us to deepen their relationship with Jesus. There is a deeper response required of us as we seek to receive the forgiveness Christ is offering us, and to discover the meaning and purpose of our lives.
That is true of all relationships. It is easy to be a faithful spouse, but we know instinctively marriage requires more from us than faithfulness. It is easy to be a faithful friend, but we know instinctively friendship demands we are there for our friend during those hard times of their life. There is more required of us to be good parents for parenting requires a sacrifice for the good of our children.
It is easy to be a faithful Christian, but we know instinctively there is more required from us than faithfulness. Christ is inviting us to discover the more God desire us to experience and by that experience grasp the power of God available to us in the kingdom of God on earth.
Those seventy two went out knowing their ability to be successful depended on them trusting God would be with them. Did you notice Jesus never told them what to do when he sent them out? His instructions were about what to expect from those whom they would encounter. Expect to be rejected by many but not to be discouraged for others would welcome the message of God’s desire to fill their lives with hope. They come back rejoicing because they did things they never expected to do.
Today when you leave listen to the words of Jesus and go and live your life in a way that proclaims the mercy of God. Our faith is to be directed to offer the lost, the broken hearted, the ill, the doubtful, the abandoned. We are called to go forth and proclaim Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.