September 30th, 2021

The Gospel according to Luke (10:1-12)

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples 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.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, we know the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  We pray for the strength, grace, and courage to persevere in the work of your kingdom.  May we trust in your divine providence to bring to fruition the seeds we plant and water with the peace we receive from you every day.

Encountering Christ: In my younger days I enjoyed a nice long run.  In my 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s I really got into cycling, both road and mountain.  In my golden years I have returned to a passion from my youth, riding a motorcycle.  All these activities can be done on our own.  However, you don’t need anyone else until you need someone else. Prudence always suggest that we are safe, in these and many other activities, in pairs or groups.  Wise advice.

I today’s gospel Jesus sends 72 disciples out in pairs.  Why?  Because he knew how hard their mission would be.  He even told them they would be sheep among wolves.  Even the most faithful, grace filled, disciplined person can succumb to the pressures, challenges, and attacks on the journey.  I don’t know about you, but I consider myself a person of average abilities, coupled with moments of intense desire to do God’s will, within a life of above average effort.

Jesus knows who we are, how we are, and how we treat each other.  He sent them in pairs so they could be there for each other when times were tough but also to witness the joys and grace.  Isn’t this possible for us too?  On our faith journey we sometimes think we can do it on our own or that no one else can do it like me.  While this is sometimes true it is not by consistently excluding others.

I have, and venture to say you have too, been witness, a part of something you carry throughout life and probably into eternity you were glad, no ecstatic you were able to share with someone else.  Sometimes this person or persons helped you weather a storm, other times shared bliss and were there, in between, for everything else.  This helps us not only to make it through the journey but to grow by leaps and bounds.

So, let’s for a moment consider what Jesus sent his disciples to offer those willing to open their homes and hearts, peace.  How often do we hear in Holy Scripture, especially from Jesus the offer of peace?  Not as the world gives it but only as the Prince of Peace can.  The irony is that He never offered to free us from the troubles of this world.  His peace resides in the heart of a son who loves his father and a father that loves his son.  It is in the presence of the Holy Spirit who assures us we are not alone.  It is in our surrender of the illusion of control and trust in the creator who knows every hair on our head.  He provides all we need to enjoy working in the kingdom, which is here in our midst.  It is in the labor of love that we find peace.

To borrow from our dear brother Paul’s letter to the Philippians, May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!

Closing Prayer: Our Father in heaven, you sent your son to rekindle our relationship with you through the sacrifice and power of love.  We are grateful for the companions you have placed in our lives so we can work side by side in your kingdom.  May our labor glorify you and awaken in others a desire to join in the harvest.

Action for the Day: Seek someone who has been a faithful companion in your journey and labor in the kingdom.  Express to them how grateful you are for their fellowship and support.  Inspire in others through words, deeds, but especially by example the peace you give to those who labor beside you and each other.

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

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