Homily for the fourteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 10:1-12 & 17-20
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.» "
" 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.» "
Jesus is the messenger of the Father: he is the beloved Son, the one in whom the Father put all his love! Jesus is he who comes to bring to the world all of God's love for men! For love wants to propagate itself always further and further: all love - and God is love - is in God from all eternity, but he can and always wants to pour himself out into the creatures whom he calls to participation in his own life! And therefore Jesus, who is God, has no other desire than that of seeing the love of God spread out more and more across the earth, like a devouring fire: «I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!» (Lk. 12:49)
In order that the fire of love may blaze in the hearts of men and women of every race and nation, Jesus sends his disciples, two by two. The disciples are called to demonstrate, in every aspect of their lives, the love that they are to bring to the world: they go out two by two in order to testify to the unity of the disciples of Christ, they must pray that the Lord calls other apostles of love, they try to imitate the gentleness of the lamb who forgives and allows himself to be mistreated by wolves and ferocious beasts. The disciples of Christ are called to testify to the love of God in all of their life, and even in their death as well, as Saint John teaches us: «By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.» (1 John 3:16)
" «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 love of God must not make us forget his justice and his rigor! Let us always remember that the mercy of God cannot to be separated from his justice. God is infinitely good, but he is also infinitely just. While he rewards good, he also punishes evil. The grace of God calls us, it invites us to follow Jesus in his mission of love throughout the entire world! The grace of God is powerful, it is the most powerful proof of the love of God for us, but we have to fear that this same grace that is offered to us today will never again be given to us in order to call us to follow Christ. We must fear that the grace that we allow to pass by today may never be offered to us again. The fire of the love of God saves and is full of mercy, but the fire of the divine justice is destructive like that which fell upon Sodom!
" «Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.» "
Saint Paul said it, with these famous words: «If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.» (1 Cor. 13:2) Yes! Even though evil spirits would submit to the disciples of Christ, if these disciples don't have the love of God in them, it would serve no purpose. There is therefore only one thing that is worthwhile and for which one must rejoice: «that your names are written in heaven,» said Jesus. That is to say, we should rejoice for the gifts which the Lord has given us only insofar as we are assured, by God's grace, that the Lord is waiting us in heaven.
How can we receive this assurance from God that our names are written in heaven? Let us read from the book of Revelation: «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) The message is clear: it is the Eucharist, the hidden manna, that gives us this assurance that God has written our name in heaven! So let us receive this sacrament with a great love and with a sincere faith: it is the Lord Jesus who comes into us to fortify us in his own love! May the Most Holy Virgin Mary help us to accomplish so great an act!