3 July 2016 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Isaiah 66:10-14; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12,17-20
Fr Fernando Armellini
The Gospel recounts how Jesus sent the messengers in pairs. The first missionaries—Peter and John, Paul and Barnabas did not only go two by two, but they were also “sent” and felt to represent their community.
They are sent like lambs among wolves. The wolf is a symbol of violence, arrogance. The lamb indicates gentleness, weakness, and frailty. It is necessary that the disciples be vigilant so that the feelings of wolves may not arise in their hearts: anger, greed, resentment, the desire to dominate and bully. These feelings lead in fact to the actions of the wolves: the abuse of power, aggression, violence, insults, lies. The history of the church confirms that, when Christians are transformed into wolves, they have always failed their mission.
The Gospel is good news. Here are the words with which the disciple presents himself: I have come to announce peace, bringing peace to you, to your family, to your home. This is a proclamation that gives comfort, inspires awe, hope, joy! If among the listeners there will be a “man of peace,” if there is someone willing to open his heart to Christ, peace, fullness of life and good will come down on him.
To express his gratitude, one who has heard the announcement could invite the missionary in his home and offer him his bread. The apostle—Jesus recommends—accepts the invitation, does not broach his claims, is content with frugal food that is set before him and adapts himself to the traditions and customs of your host, without looking askance at his habits and traditions. This was a time when many were hesitant to share meals with the Gentiles (Gal 2:11-14).
The work of evangelization must be confirmed by concrete gestures of charity: care for the sick, assistance to the poor. Where no change is noticed, any change in the condition of people and society, the kingdom of God has not yet come.
The Gospel can be welcomed, but also refused. God does not get angry, seek revenge, or punish whoever does not accept his word. He is only goodness and mercy and loves always. Jesus does speak of God’s punishment to show the disastrous consequences the rejection of the Gospel entails. Who does not accept his word becomes responsible for his own unhappiness; he is devoid of peace. The announcement of the Kingdom of God marks the beginning of the fall of the empire of evil. Jesus indicates the ultimate victory of the Gospel.
Whoever has put his trust in Christ and in his Word has his name written in heaven, that is, has become part of the kingdom of God. This is the reason of the joy he feels and announces to everyone. Although realistically he admits that the successes are limited and difficult and that the road is still long, he rejoices because he already foresees the goal.
Rev José Mario O Mandía
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Lk 10:2) The body of believers will always be like the leaven, an almost negligible quantity in the whole mass, a “creative minority” (Pope Benedict), but there will always be a need for them, because every believer is an apostle sent to bring meaning to the world.
And how do we find more apostles? How does the Church find more vocations? Jesus says, “Pray!”
Jesus did not tell his apostles to organize seminars or conferences, quiz contests or vocation fairs. He asked them to pray, to ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers. Vocations are attracted by grace, not by glitzy advertising.
This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to examine ourselves whether we are investing enough prayer to ask for vocations, not only to the priestly or religious life or to a life of celibacy, but also to married life.
How often we rely so much on material means: publicity, promotions, new gimmicks. But our Lord says, “Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals.” (v 4) He did not want his disciples to put their trust in worldly methods, because their mission is spiritual.
Moreover, he reminds them that in working in his vineyard, they should not look for any reward or compensation here on earth – personal honor, material comfort, or special privileges. “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.” (v 20)