Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C July 7, 2019

First Reading
Isaiah 66:10-14c
I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 123:1-4
Our eyes are fixed on the Lord.

Second Reading
Galatians 6:14-18
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Reading
Luke 10:1-12,17-20
Jesus sends out 72 people to announce the coming kingdom.

Gospel LK 10:1-12, 17-20

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two 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.’
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.”

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” 
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. 
Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and  scorpions 
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.  
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel begins immediately after the final verse in last Sunday’s Gospel. After strong language about the difficulties of discipleship, Jesus immediately appoints 72 people to go ahead of him to every town and place he plans to visit, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand. He sends them in pairs. In the Law of Moses two witnesses were needed for a testimony to be credible. It was probably also a safer way to travel.

Jesus admits it will be difficult, that he is sending them out like lambs among wolves. Yet they are to bring nothing with them, not even a money bag or sandals. They are to greet no one on the way so as not to be distracted from their mission. When they enter a house, their message is simply “peace.” The response they will receive may be positive or negative. Either way, they are to know that the Kingdom of God is at hand. They are not to demand special treatment but eat and drink whatever is given them. They are to stay in one house and are not to look around for one that provides better accommodations. They are to heal the sick as a sign that the Kingdom of God is at hand for them. Like Jesus’ miracles, healing is a sign of the coming of the kingdom. If the town will not receive them, they are to shake the dust from their feet and move on. Even in the case of such rejection they should know that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

When they return from their journeys, they are rejoicing because their mission has been successful. Demons were under their power because of Jesus’ name. Jesus may have sent them out as lambs among wolves, but at the conclusion of this passage he assures them that they have been given power over the enemy and nothing will harm them, not even serpents and scorpions.

A key theme of today’s Gospel and last Sunday’s Gospel is discipleship—its challenges, its difficulties, and its rewards. Sharing in the mission of Jesus is difficult, but everyone is called to do it, not just some professionals trained for ministry. Even for us today, the harvest is plentiful. We should pray to the master of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest.

Family Connection

Families teach a sense of togetherness and community. It is in the family that we learn that we are dependent on one another and where we learn to work together and live together. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus sends out the 72 disciples in pairs, a sign that we are to work together to serve the mission of the Kingdom of God.

Talk about all the ways that your family works together. Talk about the various chores and tasks that family members work on together to accomplish in order to keep the household running smoothly.

Read aloud Luke 10:1-12,17-20. Talk about why it was important that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs. Discuss ways that your family can work more closely together to support one another and to make the household run more smoothly. Pray for the strength to overcome the temptation to be too individualistic and to recognize the need for working together as a family.

Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings

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