Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37
The Gospel cannot happen in your head alone. You never think yourself into a new way of living. You invariably live yourself into a new way of thinking. The gospel is about relationship and lifestyle. Unless there is someplace on this earth where it’s happening between you and another person, I don’t believe you have any criterion to judge whether it’s happening at all. Unless you’re in right relationship with at least one other person on this earth, unless there is some place you can give and receive love, I don’t think you have any reason to think you’re living the gospel.
Many of us consider religious beliefs a private matter to be shared — if at all — only with our family and closest friends. We‘re afraid that in sharing religious convictions we might be setting ourselves up as “holier than thou.”
Today’s gospel challenges this attitude, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” And earlier in the gospel Jesus exhorts his disciples to be witnesses to the world: “You are the light of the world. . . .Your light must shine before others so they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.”
Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30; Matthew 10:16-23
There is a marked contrast in today’s readings. In the first reading, Jacob is reunited with Joseph, his missing son. Jacob’s life is now complete, and he can die contentedly. Joseph has accomplished his mission of saving his family, the eventual Chosen People.
In the Gospel reading, Matthew is beginning his Missionary Discourse. After gathering his twelve disciples and missioning them to preach, exorcise, and heal the people of Israel, Jesus warns of hostility toward their efforts. He points out that there will be trials, divisions and betrayals within families, hatred and persecution. Tough stuff!
Thursday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time - In Europe: Feast of St Benedict, Abbot, Patron of Europe
Saint Benedict: the zealous work of evangelization.
While the century had grown old in vice, while Italy and all Europe seemed to be a wretched theater for the life and death struggle of nations, and even the monastic discipline was weakened with worldliness and was not up to the task of resisting ..., Benedict proved the perennial youth of the Church by his outstanding sanctity and work; he restored morality by his teaching and example; he protected the sanctuary of religious life with safer and holier laws. Nor was that all; he and his followers reclaimed the uncultured tribes from their wild life to civic and Christian culture; directing them to the practice of virtue, industry and the peaceful arts and literature, he united them in the bonds of fraternal affection and charity...
Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7A, 17-24A
Psalm 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19
In today’s gospel, we see Jesus sending out his closest twelve disciples to spread his message: the Kingdom of God is at hand. He sends them to do the critical work of evangelizing and healing. Drive out unclean spirits and cure every disease. He gives them “authority” over unclean spirits.
Seriously? Did he check their resumes? These are not men who are powerful leaders.
Genesis 32:23-33; Matthew 9:32-38
The first reading tells us of Jacob wrestling with an angel and of not letting go until the angel blessed him. Jacob is on a journey to meet his brother Esau, whom he had wronged by stealing his birthright, long ago. So Jacob is worried about meeting his brother, how his brother will react, and if he and his family will be safe. It’s fair to say that Jacob had much going on in his mind as his journey reaches its climax.
Psalm 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15AB
“Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go,” God tells Jacob and his descendents. And Jacob responds with a vow of faith and trust in God as he journeys through a life of uncertainty. Jacob’s story is our own. God does not promise to be with us in a life of certainties. Indeed, the Psalms reveal there is never a dull moment in the lives of the faithful. God’s people are always in danger, distress, despair, and denial, to name just a few of our predicaments. We aren’t promised a life devoid of challenges and chaos. We are instead promised refuge, rescue, relief, and renewal. This dynamic and exciting relationship is not as risky a lifestyle as some might think. It doesn’t mean we are always walking a tightrope or engaging in daring death defying acts like an action adventure hero. But God’s people are a specially challenged population. We are called to a faith that is professed in trust. It takes courage to activate trust.
Isaiah 66:10-14; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
“How Not to Be A Disciple: What Not to Pack”
When I am getting ready to go on a trip, I type up a packing list. I don’t type up a “Don’t pack this” list. I know what not to take, don’t I?
This mission trip of discipleship is a trip that calls for a particular packing list. But all we’re told is what not to take. The difference between being a disciple and not being one (but maybe saying we are) is in what we pack. The nondisciple packs apathy, love of comfort and love of recognition.
The disciple packs a spirit of service, humility, and a fervent desire to interpret the good news for today’s world.