The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
July 7, 2019 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
I have a small file folder where I keep newspaper clippings that mention someone in our family, especially their accomplishments, however small they may be. For instance, my dad was a good athlete, so I have yellowed accounts of his winning a decathlon championship in his twenties and a golf tournament in his forties. I also have more recent clippings of our children winning races or contests. I keep these because like most of us, I like to think of the successes of those I know, especially if they involve members of our own family.
In today’s gospel we read about Jesus sending out a rather large contingent of followers, seventy-two in all, who were tasked with letting others know that God’s kingdom is at hand. The hoped-for era of God’s presence and power among them had begun. So, expect change. And apparently change was occurring.
While no clear details are given in this gospel, it seems that the powers of evil were being diminished. Evil spirits were being decimated. Upon returning with excitement, the seventy-two road-warriors were jubilant based on their achievements. But then the narrative changes.
First of all, those successes did not only come from their efforts, but because God was working with them. If evil spirits departed, it was God’s power forcing them out. If cures and healings took place, it was God at work through them. In other words, give credit to where credit is due.
And the same is true with us. Like those first seventy-two, we have been sent into the world by God. God is acting through us because that’s the way the kingdom works. God initiates all good things that happen and acts through us to bring about the good that results. The gospel ends with these extremely important words, “rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
Where are they written? In the heart of God. God is always with us as we have been reminded over the last few weeks. God’s Spirit “descends” into us, waking us up, pushing us out the door, connecting us with each new day. We are part of the “seventy-two” of this day. And while we might feel alone at times, we never are. That’s because while it may not be obvious right now, our names are already written in God’s heart. Right now. Today. The kingdom of God is at hand through the work of our hands and those of God.
©David M. Thomas, PhD