A reflection on the Gospel for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
This reading begins with Jesus sending seventy-two appointed disciples on a mission to proclaim Him in advance of His coming. These missionaries were to expect hardship, and rejection. They were being sent like sheep amidst wolves, but His power and authority would be with them. To hear and receive these chosen disciples was to hear and receive the Lord, and to reject them was to reject God. Jesus is God-with-us; Emmanuel. He has humbly taken on our humanity to gather us into His kingdom, where “You will see and your heart shall exult, and your bodies shall flourish like grass; The Lord’s power shall be revealed to his servants, but to His enemies, his wrath.” (Isaiah 66:15)
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10 17-20 Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)
And when the seventy-two return to Jesus they joyfully tell of how even the demons were subject to them when they spoke in His name. But Jesus tells them not to rejoice in their success, even though they are truly wondrous and astounding, he tells them to rejoice because their names are written in heaven. They are to find their joy in their relationship with the Father. Is that where your peace lies? Does it rest in the fact that you are called by name to be with the Lord in heaven?
Monsignor Pope in his thorough reflection on this Gospel writes this about this joy that Jesus is giving them:
“They (the seventy-two) have the joy of success that day. There will be other days of rejection and even martyrdom. That’s why Jesus counsels to have a deeper source of joy; merely that they have been called and have their names written in heaven.”
To have our joy and our peace rooted in our relationship with Christ is to have treasure in heaven. I myself have always felt like an outsider, no matter how long I have belonged to a particular group. I suppose it is because I am a bit on the introverted side, but I am sure that many others know what I am talking about. I have a really hard time feeling like I belong. It can be dangerous, I have at time been very vulnerable to clinging to friendships that have been destructive. This is why it is so important to keep proclaiming Christ's Good News, and so urgent. There are many who cling to a sense of belonging – to whatever group or situation they have become comfortable with -- to their own ultimate destruction. They need laborers to bring them the healing and peace that is not of this world, but is from where they truly do belong, heaven. We all need to be freed from the idols that we cling to so that we can answer His call and know that our names are written in heaven.
There really are no sweeter words that one can hear, words that assure you that you are called and that you belong!
May His peace rest upon all of you!
Here is a link to the rest of Monsignor's reflection, I guarantee that you will be blessed by reading it!