July 7, 2013 –– Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 66: 10 – 14C; Ps 66: 1-7, 16, 20; Gal 6: 14-18; Lk 10: 1-12, 17-20
If there is one theme running through the readings for this Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, it might be to “rejoice in Christ; rejoice in the Cross.” That is a powerful way to look at these readings.
The first reading from Isaiah is filled with positive words — “rejoice…be glad…exult.” In fact, the first part of the reading is a charge to rejoice and celebrate and the second part is a promise of comfort and reassurance. It is a time of elation.
St. Paul begins in the second reading, his letter to the Galatians, by saying, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” An entire reflection could be written on that statement alone. It is Jesus’ death on the Cross which is our redemption and our salvation. The Cross is perhaps our most important Catholic and Christian symbol. We also must notice how Paul addresses Him: “our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is a complete name for us, as our Lord is the Lord of Lords, the Son of God; Jesus is His earthly name; and Christ is the Messiah, our Savior. What Paul is saying is that, like the call to rejoice in the first reading, he, Paul, a disciple, rejoices in the fact that he, like us, has been freed from the bondage of sin and death.
Although both of the first two readings provide us plenty on which to meditate and pray, it is the Gospel from Luke that truly calls us to a reckoning. In the midst of sending disciples in pairs “to every town and place he intended to visit,” Jesus reminds them that, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” Anyone involved in gardening or agriculture understands that when the crops are ready, they must be harvested, or they will not survive.
Jesus is quite adept at giving us comparisons which will lead us to greater understanding. Of course, the harvest is all the souls in the world. What He is telling His disciples in this Gospel, and what He is telling us as well, is that He needs us to be sowing the Word, telling the Good News, and evangelizing. This can be what seems to be an insurmountable task.
Nevertheless, if we look at it from a stewardship perspective, it is something which we can do while rejoicing like St. Paul and the Israelites (from the first two readings). The steward takes the gifts that God has granted him or her and uses those gifts to reach out to others. Blessed Mother Teresa, who the Lord filled with wisdom so simple that each of us can grasp it, once said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest to you.”
As stewards and disciples of Jesus, it is not necessary for us to go from town to town. However, we do need to live out our lives as good Catholics and Christians in our families, our work places, our neighborhoods, our communities, and especially in our faith communities. Mother Teresa also said, “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God Who is sending a love letter to the world.” We are the laborers and the harvest is indeed abundant. Let us rejoice and be glad; we can change the world.