Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
The Lord appointed 72 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, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I bring myself into your presence knowing the zeal of your heart for souls. The glory of your heavenly Father can shape my own heart. I am confident that, just as the 72 lit the flame of their love for their mission from the furnace of your divine love, I can ignite all that is lukewarm and tepid in my own soul today. I desire to fulfill more perfectly the mission you have given me.
Petition: Lord, fill my heart with a holy zeal to make you known to many people!
- Loving Souls without Limits: Contemplate our Lord’s hunger to bring salvation to the many souls whose number exceeds the reach of his humanity. His passionate, driving love for men breaks the confines of his human nature, multiplying his presence in the world. We can be so easily drained by the never-ending needs of those we serve. We can close the door on others with comfortable excuses; we can ignore their needs, for which God wishes to put a solution in our hands. Christ’s heart, rather, is expansive and grows with the awareness of the need of men for him. Creatively he brings a divine solution into play to reach more souls, heal more hearts, cure more ills. Does my charity bring me to use all my creativity, intelligence and will-power to meet the needs of those God has entrusted to my care? Does divine wisdom, rooted in prayer, come into play in how I serve others?
- Christ Is to Be Known through Me: Christ uses his divine power to multiply himself, commissioning these disciples to be in effect other Christs in the world. This sending out of the 72 is a critical juncture in the plan of salvation. Here ordinary men, who at one time were simple-hearted recipients of Christ’s redeeming message, are now to be the carriers of that message to others. Yet with all their weaknesses, how could they ever hope to offer others an experience of Christ like that which they themselves experienced, an experience which is so ineffable and sublime? Christ explains: It will be done by their obedience, especially to the details of behavior that he outlines for them. It will be done by acting in Christ’s name, knowing that he has commissioned them. It will be accomplished not through their own talents and charismatic personalities, but through the power and grace of God that comes to those who serve him with a pure heart. I can reflect on my own vocation and see that it has its ultimate source in God, not in my own preferences. Knowing God has given me my mission in life, I must, like the 72, purify myself of all self-centeredness and personal ambition in order to respond to his singular invitation. Can others experience Christ through me?
- In the End, Lambs Conquer: Wolves appear when the lamb is present. I should not think that opposition and contradiction mark the end of my mission. Rather, they are a sign of its authenticity. Being a lamb among wolves implies that the wolves are best defeated by the meekness and simplicity with which a disciple of Christ lives his life. A pure and selfless heart does not permit bitterness, resentment and hardship to weaken its commitment.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I wish to form my heart to be conquering and meek like your own, certain of the victory that awaits those who suffer in doing your will. Grant me the grace never to fall away from your divine commission. Every morning, help me to awaken with a generous and faithful spirit to its beauty and goodness.
Resolution: Today I will put more effort into the details that prove my love for my vocation.