Homily for the fourteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 10:1-12, 17-20


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, "Peace be to this house!" And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you." But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, "Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near." I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.


"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.' "





Homily:


"After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.' "


In today's Gospel, the Lord Jesus seeks to teach us what is the true mission of those whom he himself has chosen to be his disciples. This mission consists in preparing for the coming of the Master: the disciples have no other mission than that of announcing to all the people of the world that the Lord Jesus is coming! For, from one end of the planet to the other, the grace of God comes, the Holy Spirit comes, the Body and Blood of Christ present in the Eucharist come! God comes to man in multiple ways and the disciples of the Lord must prepare for this coming in order that the Lord might not be rejected, but rather welcomed, by those who belong to him!


The world is vast, the men and women who live on the earth are numerous, and how few are the disciples whom the Lord sends to proclaim to them the coming of the Kingdom of God... "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." The Kingdom of God is here, Love is here! But how many people know this? How many men and women have already heard the proclamation of the Coming of the Lord Jesus? I speak, of course, of the first coming of Christ to earth. For this is the more important one. When the Lord returns to earth at the end of time, it will then be too late to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God: it will be the time of judgement. Now is the hour of mercy and grace! Later, it will be too late... "Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."


"Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you."


Let us think of the men and women we see each day. How do they react when one speaks to them of religion and of Jesus? The answer is simple, but disheartening: the majority of people don't mind doing without religion and Jesus, they are not interested... The majority of people are indifferent: they are the wolves of today! "Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." They are indifferent wolves... The Book of the Apocalypse quotes this message of the Lord to the Church of Laodicea: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing', not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich..." (Rev. 3:15-18), this gold being the graces of faith, hope, and charity, for eternal life.


The only things that interest the men and women of our time are money, business, material goods... If you ever try to detach them, no matter how little, from the possessions that cling to their fingers, they very quickly revolt and become violent, so much do they fear for their material security! In short, going to God and abandoning their goods, at least in spirit, is something they would never want to do, never! The disciples of Christ thus have great difficulty finding men of peace... "Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you." Behind any indifferent man hides a bellicose and quarrelsome man...


"And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town."


Proclaiming the faith, proclaiming the Kingdom of God should never frighten the disciples of the Lord: for Divine Providence watches over them! They will always find a town to welcome them and people of good will to give them their wages: food and drink. When they encounter sick people - meaning above all indifferent people - they must try to heal them of their indifference by proclaiming to them the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God: "Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' " This refers to the second coming of Christ, on the day of judgement. For, what do we do to wake up people who are asleep in a burning building? We shout: "Fire! Fire!" If one does not threaten those who are indifferent through the fear of God's judgement, of death, of eternal hell, then they will not wake up...


"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.' "


This is indeed what all disciples of the Lord want to see one day in Heaven: their name written in the home of God! What happiness it is just to hope for it! What joy this hope already brings! For, the faithful disciple, he who carries out with faith the mission that the Lord has entrusted to him - and all Christians have a mission! - is already saved, in hope, which is a beginning of the reality. Already, the faithful disciple has received his reward! For he is like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who was rewarded for awaiting the Lord by receiving, through the angel Gabriel, a new name: "full of grace" (Lk. 1:28). "To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it." (Rev. 2:17)



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