HOMILY & IDEAS

Isaiah 66:10-14c; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-412, 17-20.

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots.

The Gospel today strikes me as the spiritual life in miniature. Although it is not a parable, it is as if someone asked Jesus the question -- Master, how does life unfold? What happens? Should there be a pattern to all our journeys? And, Jesus responds with the Gospel we hear today.

What happens in the Gospel today? In short, Jesus chooses, Jesus instructs, Jesus warns, the laborers work, the laborers succeed in the name of Jesus, the laborers rejoice, and Jesus reminds the laborers of even greater joy.

This is the life I want to live as a Christian. I want this to be my journey.

Sometimes the aforementioned chronology of events unfolds in small missions over the days of our lives. Sometimes these stages unfold over a single lifetime in a distinctive, traceable, profound, spiritual journey. Oftentimes they all happen at once -- the little missions and the grand journey. They are like ripples in a pond overlapping -- some bigger, some smaller, all important.

The key is to recognize them.

Jesus chooses.

We are chosen in our creation as instruments of GodÕs love. We are chosen in our baptism. We are chosen in our being present in a worshiping community. If we fail to see ourselves as being individually chosen we will never have the confidence to begin the mission -- to begin the journey.

Jesus sends.

We are sent by rising to the challenges of the Gospel. We are sent at our confirmation. We are sent by our God-given vocations. We are sent at the end of each Mass when we are asked to go in peace to love and serve the Lord. If we fail to see these sending moments in our lives we will lack direction and purpose.

Jesus instructs.

We are instructed by the Word of God through Sacred Scripture.

Usually the phrase -- To take something personally -- is heard as a negative thing. However, we should always strive to take the Word of God personally. It needs to constantly challenge and speak to us. It gives each one of us a blueprint of how we are to personally contribute to the building of the Kingdom; for the kingdom of God is at hand here and now for us as it was for the disciples. We are not all chosen to be married men. We are not all chosen to be priests. We are not all chosen to be married women. We are not all chosen to be religious sisters. We are not all chosen to be single. However, we are chosen as builders of the same kingdom in our own lifetimes.

Jesus warns.

We too face our own wolves in our own lives. Although these wolves vary in size and number it seems that they are present in all of our lives. The pastures of Eden are gone. It is simply a reality of life -- and how one faces that reality makes all the difference.

We may feel defeated before we start the confrontation -- the showdown. The wolves are too big, too fierce, and too many in number. Perhaps we have constructed a hierarchy of power or of threats in our lives that has put us so close to the bottom that we feel helpless and hopeless.

The culture in the time of Jesus had a particular hierarchy. It began with God -- or the Gods. Below this were the sons of God or archangels. Below this were the non-human beings -- angels, spirits, and demons. Below this were humans. Below this were the animals that humans had power over -- for example sheep and donkeys.

However, this hierarchy is turned upside down in the Gospel today for nothing is impossible with God. This is why the disciples are filled with such awe when they proclaim -- Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name!

Do we feel and believe that the hierarchy of threats that we have constructed in our own lives can be turned upside down too? Is the hierarchy even realistic? Have we defeated ourselves before even spotting a wolf? Do we feel that in the name of Jesus we can face and overcome any wolves -- any demons?

Not only do the disciples travel without a money bag, sack or sandals; but they travel without weapons of defense. Even the shepherds were able to wield a rod and staff in defense of their sheep. However, the disciples are only armed with their faith and the name of Jesus. They need nothing more. Neither do we.

A word could be said here also about the response that Jesus suggests after one confronts and assesses the kind of reception one receives in a village. This response can and should serve as a healthy model for all exits from unfriendliness or hostility. That is, one simply shakes the dust from ones feet and leaves. There is no calling down of fire, violence, grudges, name-calling or long-planned revenge. One leaves the unpleasentness behind and moves on to more positive possibilities. Why wallow in rejection that can lead to anger? Move on to where one can be effective.

We labor as the disciples did. Some of the missions are short. Sometimes we are sent on a journey. Regardless, the end result should be that of the disciples in the Gospel today -- Rejoicing.

And, to lift our spirits even higher we are reminded by Jesus of the even greater of joy of having our names written in heaven.

Let us always recognize our missions and our journey. Let us see ourselves as chosen, sent, instructed, and warned. Let us see our work as important. Let us face all opposition with our faith and the power of the name of Jesus. Let us return rejoicing and be told of even greater joy in heaven.

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