June 26, 2016 by
David Jackson in
Reflections on Sunday Gospels
Sent to be Peace Makers.
Last Sunday’s Gospel was focused more on calling or vocation. This Sunday’s Gospel speaks to mission. Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers who expands the sending of the twelve to include the sending of 72 disciples. We will look at some of the aspects of sending in this story. (Pope Francis has given particular aspect to the fact that we are to be sent to the “peripheries”. And to be sure there are peripheries in every parish.)
One of the first things we notice is that the disciples are sent in pairs. Much of our Christian life is lived with another. For many of us the significant other in our lives is our spouse. Some time back a priest was telling me about a psychologist that was having classes with married couples. He began by asking them to think about their financial affairs and then to talk with one another about their experiences in the realm of finances. A very lively conversation took place in the groups. Now that the people knew one another a bit better, he asked them to talk with one another about their sex lives. This the people proceeded to do without much difficulty. Finally the priest asked the couples to talk with one another about their prayer life. One of the people put up his hand and said, “Heh, father how come you are getting so personal?” This story reflects a weakness that many Catholic couples share.
Jesus 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.” These words were at one time understood to be a prayer for more priests and sisters. But now we understand that the spread of the Gospel is the mission of all of us. Also another understanding of missionary work has arisen. Perhaps in these words of Jesus we didn’t realize that in an abundant harvest there are riches to be gained. Formerly missionaries went to foreign lands to bring the Gospel of Christ. Their attitude was, “I bring the treasure of Jesus which I possess to those who don’t possess him at all.” Today missionaries go to others looking to discover the presence of Jesus in other people. It isn’t just the missionary bringing Jesus, but the missionary discovering Jesus in the people.
Jesus said, “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” It would seem to me that we must look at ourselves and examine what excess baggage we are carrying. We must get rid of some of the “trappings.” TV, computers, eating, shopping, etc. These can be excess baggage or trappings.
Jesus said, “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’” It would seem to me that we cannot offer the peace of Christ if we do not have it ourselves. Many people who are Christians do not have peace. People are upset, angry, depressed, nervous, anxious, troubled, disturbed, up tight, etc. There can be any number of things that deprive us of peace. A little second grader once told me, “Father you know something different happens if you look at the persons eyes when you give the sign of peace.” I believe she was right. Today at the kiss of peace, try these three things, l) Look at the person’s eyes, 2) grasp their hand gently but firmly, and 3) say, “The peace of Christ be with you.” In this way I am sending you on mission. The start of the mission begins with the persons next to you, to whom you will give the kiss of Peace. May the rest of the Mass be for us a meditation on our being sent by the Lord.