Friday, 30 July 2010 12:14

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year C

Written by  Bishop Joe Grech
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1st Reading:  Isaiah 66:10-14
2nd Reading : Galatians 6:14-18
Gospel:  Luke 10:1-12

In the gospel of today we have the sending out of the seventy two disciples.  This is very unique.  All the gospels mention the twelve disciples and them being commissioned by Jesus to continue his mission.  However it is only Luke who makes a reference to the sending out of the seventy two disciples.  There must be a reason for this.  Jesus says that the harvest is big and there are not enough people to do the necessary work.  In the same manner Luke wants to tell us that the mission of Jesus is not only carried forward by the so called experts like priests and religious but it is the responsibility of every believer in Jesus.  This of course is very much in time with what Vatican II has expressed.  Speaking about the laity the Council Fathers have expressed that it is the right and duty of every baptised person to preach the gospel.

How are we going to do this?  Very often I have heard people say that they feel that they have not the proper qualifications to be involved in the mission of Jesus.  Many cannot come to terms with the fact that the work of Jesus requires above all a heart that is passionate enough to share with others what it has already experienced, the life-giving Holy Spirit of God living within it.

Sometimes we forget that small is very important in the Bible.  Jesus said that where two or three are gathered in his name He is also present. He fed so many thousands of people with five loaves and two fish.  Moreover, he portrayed children as being the ones who truly manifest the qualities that he was encouraging and promoting.  Through Luke, Jesus is saying that we can continue his mission not only by being involved in great and well organised and very well attended programs.  The mission of Jesus is also accomplished by ordinary people doing ordinary things and being faithful to their responsibilities.

I can still recall my mother and the way she helped me during the time when I had to sit for an important examination.  In Malta, you have to sit for an examination in order to be able to attend good secondary schools.  Moreover, according to the results that a person achieves would depend whether a person gets a scholarship or not.  I was quite young and my father had died a few years before.  My mother could not afford to pay for a secondary education and therefore I was under a lot of pressure to do well in the exam so that I could get a scholarship to attend a very good school.  I was scared and very afraid.  My mother noticed this.  She could not help me much with my studies.  She grew up during the war and therefore she did not have much of an opportunity to go to school.  However, what she did was to come and sit on the other side of the table where I was doing my studies and she would stay there knitting.  That was enough for me.  Her presence was enough for me.  I knew that she cared about me and that she was supporting me.  She did not have to say anything.  Her presence said it all.  That gesture simple and ordinary was a moment of grace and great support for me because it was coming from a heart full of the Holy Spirit.

Last week I was invited for tea with a family who I have known for quite some time.  The parents have two children both married and they were also present.  My friends mother also lives with them.  She is well advanced in years and can only walk very slowly with the help of walking frame.  During the evening I could not help but admire my friend as she looked after her mother with so much patience and care.  I am sure that there are moments when my friend would feel frustrated and become very impatient.  Yet I could sense so much genuine concern that I felt edified and encouraged.  Indeed she was very much an active participant in the mission of Jesus.

There is obviously a cost attached to all of this because this behavior is very revolutionary and counter cultural.  It is not easy to respond with forgiveness when we have received hurt and injury.  It is not easy to keep persevering in the midst of so much uncertainty and upheaval.  It’s not that easy to keep being a source of hope when surrounded by the limitations of being human.  Nevertheless these very moments are the moments of great significance which leave a long lasting effect.
This is the reason why we cannot live our Christian faith on our own.  It is too difficult.  It is too hard.  This is therefore the reason why we need to be together as a parish as a diocese.  To be able to put into practice the mission of Jesus we need support and being part of a team.  There is room for everybody and we all have gifts, talents and qualities which help in the upbuilding of our local parish community.  I urge you to take an active part in the life of the parish.  Every little gesture of kindness, every single act of service to others, every little word of encouragement helps us to become very aware of our mission and gives us the necessary impetus to believe with our God.  These simple and ordinary acts make a difference in the lives of so many.

“Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you for my life and for all the good qualities that you have given to me.  Help me to use these qualities for my own growth and in helping others.  May I be a witness of your resurrection wherever I may be.  I know that you honor and bless whatever good I do.  May I be a source of your blessing to anyone who I meet every day of my life.   Amen”

God Bless