The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
July 3rd, 2022– Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
Imagine the surprise of Jesus’s disciples when, after having followed him for weeks, or even months, after listening to his inspired words and even having witnessed a few miracles. Then they were told, “Okay, it’s now your turn. Continue what I have begun. Go out on the highways and byways. Spread the word.”
Then he gave them a few tips. Just stop and describe what I have said and done with whoever you meet along your way. Share my message of the Good News and welcome their reply. If they accept what you communicate to them, stick around and take time to get to know each other. If they object to what you are telling them, bid them adieu and continue on your way. The important thing is that you are sharing yourself and your time with them concerning something that is important to you.
As I read this gospel, it reminded me of something I learned early in my academic career from a wonderful French Catholic philosopher, named Gabriel Marcel. He noticed that the world of his time (early Twentieth Century) was becoming more impersonal, almost mechanical. Interpersonal encounters seemed less important. Individuals valued things more than other persons. He concluded that we were losing a sense of availability to others. We need to change. I agreed then, and even more now.
Referring back to todays’ gospel, Jesus was creating a marketing plan for spreading his message to the world. And at the center of his approach was the sacred, interpersonal encounter between us. In that sense every communal moment is potentially an opportunity to communicate the love that God has for each of us and all of us. This is at the heart of authentic Christian evangelization.
We are all like those first seventy-two disciples, sent out into the world to communicate God’s love to everyone we meet “along the road.” Perhaps this will mean being more friendly to a neighbor, smiling at the checkout person at the store, or calmly listening to your aging parent ramble on about something that happened years ago – for the umpteenth time.
In that sense, our discipleship is always being exercised. The world we are sent to may be that world in which we already live. Many years ago, I dreamed of being a missionary to a foreign land far away. In the end, I stayed close to home. Little did I imagine that I would be called to share God’s message with the next person I met. A very short journey away.
©David M. Thomas, PhD