Your directions are
…hard to follow.
â€œGo on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, â€˜Peace to this household.â€™ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”
We know this story. Having spent the month of June reflecting on and praying for the gift of vocations to the Diaconate and Holy Priesthood we hear Jesusâ€™ words echoing, â€œThe harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.â€
There are several ways we might reflect on todayâ€™s gospel.
There is the obvious â€“ we need to listen for Godâ€™s call and go out to do His work. Godâ€™s field awaits workers. We have to be the ones who listen to Him and set out to do His work, to bring His good news to those who are unaware of His marvelous promises. We have to be the ones willing to sacrifice what everyone else thinks is â€œnormalâ€ to follow His call to serve our brothers and sisters.
The other part, the less obvious, is the aspect of trust we must exhibit in following Jesus.
The seventy-two who were called to go out and spread the good news might well have been shocked by Jesusâ€™ directions: â€œCarry no money bag, no sack, no sandals…â€ Think how those words might sound to us today: â€œCarry no cell phone, suitcase, wallet, purse, shoes or sneakers.â€ Just go out, march down the road to the next suburb, knock on a door, and see if you are welcome. Whatever house you go to, say â€œPeace to this household.â€
If we reflect on the picture at the top of todayâ€™s bulletin, this is what Jesus asks us to do, to first love. Wish peace upon everyone, in every encounter, at every doorstep. Place our trust that Jesus will fulfill our wish for peace and give that peace to those who accept Him.
Next, live. We cannot just exist. With Jesus in our lives we have purpose and reason â€“ a beautiful existence, a wonderful life, and most importantly a life that will never end.
Finally, lead. Knock on those doors and live life based on trust in Jesus. The cell phone, suitcase, wallet, purse, shoes or sneakers are just things. We have to show what we truly value by our example. We have to show others that our trust is in the One who makes money bags, sacks, and sandals of far lesser importance. Then we have to lead by loving, living, and speaking that trust, helping them to see beyond perceived importance to true importance, true vitality, change we can believe in: true life with Jesus.