“Peace to this household…” The instructions for how the disciples should receive hospitality are expanded from 9:4, which simply commanded that they stay wherever they were received. Here the instruction has two parts, with commentary on each: (1) say, “Peace to this house,” and (2) remain in the house where you are received. The peace they offer seems like a tangible gift or even a living reality with a mind of its own. This notion of peace rests on the biblical concept of the word of God as being not only a message but somehow an embodiment of God’s own personality and power (Isa 55:10–11; Jer 20:8–9). The peace-wish of the Christian missionary is more than an expression of good will — it is the offer of a gift from God of which they are privileged to be the ministers and heralds (see 1:2; Acts 6:4). Those who bring spiritual gifts can expect their physical needs to be taken care of by the beneficiaries (v. 7; see Gal 6:6 “the one who is being instructed in the Word should share all good things with his instructor.”). Continue reading
Commissioning and Instructing the Missioners. 1 After this the Lord appointed seventy (-two) others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. Just prior to sending out these “apostles” (the related verb apostello is used in vv. 1, 3, & 16), James and John indicate their inadequacies by wanting to call down fire to destroy the Samaritans and three “would-be” followers indicate their unwillingness to leave all to follow Jesus. Yet, in spite of these shortcomings among his followers, Jesus sends them out. Continue reading
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy (-two) others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. 2 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. 3 Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 4 Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. 5 Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household. 6 If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 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. 8 Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, 9 cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ 10 Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 11 ‘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. 12 I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town… 17 The seventy (-two) returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” 18 Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. 19 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. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Continue reading
This coming Sunday, the 14th in Year C of Ordinary Time, the gospel is Luke 10:1-12, 17-20. It is the commissioning of the 72 disciples and some preliminary response to their return. But here is what is skipped:
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’” 16 Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” Continue reading
These days there is no shortage of devices to take photographs and videos. If you have a camera, you have a digital record. It is kinda’ nice that it is so easy to build an album of memories: a newborn, the baptism, the first bicycle ride without training wheels, pictures of the school years, shots of dropping that young adult at college, the wedding, and the pictures of the newborn. At every stage there you can watch the person become the person – part from their parents, part from their own independent life. It is a record of the many mantles being passed on as the child takes on the mantle of adult.
A mantle – a loose sleeveless garment worn over other clothes, or so says the dictionary. Figuratively, the cloak symbolizes preeminence or authority, as in accepting the mantle of leadership or responsibility. When Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah” we see the beginning of a period of preparation for Elisha’s eventual taking on the full mantle of the prophet, the servant of the Word of God. (2 Kings 2) It makes for quite the picture.
Somewhere in your collection of pictures, I bet there is one of you and your baptismal gown. I love that part of the baptismal liturgy that comes after the pouring of the baptismal waters: You have put on Christ; in Him you have been baptized. See in this white garment, the outward sign of the inner dignity given you. And with the help of family and friends, may you bring that dignity unstained in to everlasting life. It is an Elijah-Elisha moment: the mantle begins to be passed from parent-to-child. The child will follow the parent as they grow. The parent has that mantle to teach, form, mold, and shape the person the child will be. It is a great responsibility, a wondrous undertaking. It is a mantle we all wear in one way or another as we prepare ourselves and the generation that follows.
There are many “mantles.” How is it that we wear that mantle of our faith in our homes, families, places of work, or parish? Perhaps we wear it loosely, and without a great deal of thought, except during the time we spend at church on Sunday. Maybe we wear it boldly…. but comes the time when that mantle of responsibility begins to weigh upon us, then we feel its constraints, its burden, and its demands. Perhaps in that moment we lay it to one side for a moment. It might be the briefest of times when the words around us are cruel, racists, judgmental, or other-than-what-we-deeply-believe. In our silence when we don’t want to rock the boat, upset someone, or bear the brunt of the next wave of prejudicial utterances. It is then that mantle is worn loosely to the point of falling aside.
In our baptism and profession of faith, have been given a responsibility to speak as though a prophet – like Elijah, like St. Paul, like so many before us
- to speak truth to power,
- to speak hope into a situation of despair,
- to be joyful among the world’s tears, or
- to reach out to embrace those in the world deemed un-huggable.
And, yes, there are times when those prophetic moments are the cross when are called to pick up. Just last week, we heard Jesus say: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Not just pick it up and endure it, but “follow.”
Sometimes the call comes to us as it did to St. Paul – uninvited, yet compelling. Sometimes, in our enthusiasm, we proclaim: “I will follow you wherever you go.” Sometimes that is what we want to be able to say to Jesus… and yet we are challenged to be honest with ourselves: are there limits to what we will do in following Jesus? Perhaps our answer is “Yes, Lord…. But here’s the thing… once I get my career on track, my family established, my education complete…” And the thing is that we don’t even know what God would ask of us. Maybe it is to get a career on track in order to be witness in the world of business. Or be married and instill within the family deep true Christian values that can withstand the witness of secular values.
The call begins in the waters of baptism with the mantle of faith laid on our shoulders. Here these many years later, it is good to take off our mantle and take a closer look at it. I can pause to consider the mantles of my baptism, my Franciscan vows, my priestly life, the mantle of my role in by family – and so many more. They all combine into one.
But at the core, the question remains, “Is it the mantle of our baptism in Christ?” Or is it a multi-colored cloak in which we have a little of this, a little of that, having pieced together “what works for me.” Having pieced together, what does not take away my options, my choices, my freedom. Isn’t that what St Paul says? We are “called for freedom” …and then interestingly he does not give us list of choices. He describes the freedom of Christ as service to one another through love. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Anslem of Canterbury, some 1000 years ago, wrote that if our idea of freedom is as a matter of choice, however true, it is an impoverished understanding of freedom. To be free is to have no barriers, no obstacles, nothing that burdens you in your journey to God. To be free is to arrive before God and to realize, you have no choice at all. There is only love.
And maybe that is the intense urgency in Jesus’ command to “Follow me” – every delay or side trip – in their own way – is love delayed. “Yes Lord, I will follow…but here’s the thing… once I get this other task started/completed/whatever – then I will more fully love you.”
We are called to follow. We have no idea about the journey to which we are called. But we do know that despite its ups and downs, it will be a journey of love. And so we take up the mantle and we follow the Christ.
It is a mantle of love – it is the white garment that is but the outward sign of the great dignity given us. May we bring that dignity unstained into ever-lasting life. Now won’t that be a picture for the album of our lives?
Day 1: Choose to act mercifully.
Day 2: Share what you have with those in need.
Day 3: Seek out someone you can help.
Day 4: Choose loving words and actions.
Day 5: Let no one in your day feel ignored.
Day 6: Visit, call, or send a card to someone sick.
Day 7: Pick a bad habit and let it go.
Day 8: Pray for those who have died.
Day 9: Tell someone today’s Gospel message.
Day 10: Say something to someone feeling hopeless.
Day 11: Go to confession; ask forgiveness of your sins.
Day 12: Pick an “enemy” and pray for them.
Day 13: Say to someone, “I forgive you” and mean it.
Day 14: Say thank you to God and be joyful.
Day 15: Pray for one particular person.
Day 16: Do something extra nice for Mom.
Day 17: Speak out against injustice.
Day 18: Donate clothing to a shelter.
Day 19: Donate food to a food pantry.
Day 20: Extend a loving touch to heal a hurt.
Day 21: Do something unexpected and nice for Dad.
Day 22: Offer an act of kindness to someone suffering or
Day 23: Teach the Gospel by example.
Day 24: Be an instrument of peace .
Day 25: Be an instrument of pardon.
Day 26: Volunteer.
Day 27: Ask for forgiveness from someone.
Day 28: Find someone who needs a kind word.
Day 29: Share something with a friend.
Day 30: Write a thank you note.
Day 31: Say a prayer of gratitude to God for the last 30 days
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” 59 And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied,”(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” 60 But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” 62 (To him) Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
These verse are located along the way. As Jesus journeyed some people announced their readiness to follow him. They were clearly well-intentioned, but had not realized the nature of the demands the kingdom makes. Continue reading
On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53 but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55 Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they journeyed to another village. Continue reading
51 When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, 52 and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53 but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
Jesus now makes the decisive turn toward Jerusalem and the accomplishment of his exodus (v. 31 – a reference to the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus that will take place in Jerusalem, the city of destiny). The theme of the final journey is already in Mark (Mark 10:1, 32), but Luke has developed it to show Jesus’ commitment to the Father’s plan (9:62; 13:33). Luke keeps the reader alert to the journey theme (13:22; 17:11) and uses it to begin to assemble materials from Jesus on the nature of Christian discipleship. Continue reading
Luke 9:51-62 – 51 When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, 52 and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53 but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55 Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they journeyed to another village. 57 As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” 59 And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, ”(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” 60 But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” 62 (To him) Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Continue reading