Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sunday, July 8 ~ Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

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.

Personal Reflection

And, so it is today. Jesus sends us out into the world to prepare His earthly Kingdom for the day He returns in glory. Whenever I think of evangelizing, I get nervous. I am wary of speaking to others of Christ unless I already know they are believers. Why is that? How does evangelizing make you feel? Is it natural for you to bring up God in casual conversation? Have you ever done any "formal" evangelizing?

Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs to preach the Gospel. So, this gives me a bit of comfort. I might not be called to go on some huge evangelization quest to strangers by myself. If I am called to such a role, God will send me. I know of many wonderful programs within our Church where believers go out, two by two, to share Christ's love and mercy with others either full time or once in a while. I do not feel called to this type of service at this time in my life, and if you are a mom, you might not either.

I do, however, feel called to speak more about Christ on a daily basis. I want Him to be more prominent in my daily discussions. Our lives must be the Gospel for others. So, I think I can take Jesus' advice in this Gospel reading on how to go about that, with friends, family, strangers, and especially my own children. Consider the directions Christ gives his disciples.

First, he advises them to take nothing, not even sandals for their feet and to eat what is provided them. What faith He asks of them! Do I speak of Christ with confidence that He will provide what is needed for me at that moment? Or do I worry about what to say or even avoid saying anything until I have "looked it up?" It is important to admit our shortcomings and look things up when necessary, but we have all been given grace and can share something! Do I take time to study and learn more about my faith on a regular basis? Do I willingly accept the generosity of others? Or do I shun it, feeling unworthy or not wanting to be an inconvenience? If I turn away help from others, am I turning away Christ?

Christ's most interesting instruction in my opinion is to "be like lambs." We are to be docile and humble and gentle with others. We cannot preach with anger or aggressiveness. He tells us to share His kingdom if the people are willing to listen and if not to leave them behind. I tend to be persistent, perhaps too persistent at times. How gentle are my teachings to others? Are those with whom I speak about Jesus willing to hear me? Are they ready to listen? Or do I choose an inopportune time and cause division? Can I tell when they need me to back off or take a break, especially my children?

Finally, Jesus gives His disciples strength and reminds them of their focus. He claims nothing will hurt them, but that they must be humble and think of Heaven's promises alone. Does my faith sometimes cause me to condescend others? Do I think myself better than anyone? Who? Why? Do I have confidence in God's ability to protect me from evil, or do I worry too much? Do I keep Heaven always in mind as my ultimate goal? Or am I easily distracted by the things of the world? How do these faults interfere with my ability to bring Christ to others? How can I expect to lead others to Heaven if I'm wandering off that path myself?

I do not doubt that Jesus knows what He is saying here. He is God. We cannot have a "take it or leave it" attitude about his advice. It IS the Gospel; I pray for the humility to accept it, embrace it, and stop resisting it. May you be blessed with the same grace.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Back to Weekly Posts Tomorrow!

I apologize for the time away! I have been out of town and incorrectly thought I could keep up with my posts while I was gone. I'm back! Check tomorrow night for this Sunday's reflection. A few days later, I will post next Sunday's reflection to get us all back on track! Thanks for sticking with me. You remain in my prayers.