Bulletin: July 7, 2019
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
This week, in the midst of summer, the scriptures greet us with joy, peace, mercy, and more peace! Sounds a little like Advent, doesn’t it? We often associate the prophet Isaiah with that preparatory season, and our first reading rings with such words as exult, comfort, and rejoice. The Israelites had reason to rejoice, for they had returned, come home, to a rebuilt Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon.
In the Gospel, the seventy-two disciples who were sent out have their own “homecoming,” returning to Jesus from spreading the Good News of the Kingdom and preparing people for the “advent” of Jesus into their cities and towns on his long road to Jerusalem. Like the exiles in Isaiah, the disciples return rejoicing.
The Good News, the Kingdom of God, is coming, even in summer. As today’s psalm reminds us, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth!”
Summertime, and the scriptures are full of good news—and maybe even road trips! We hear Isaiah exhorting the Israelites after they traveled back to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. We hear the seventy-two disciples congratulating themselves for going out to proclaim the Kingdom and coming back with tales of success. But the subtext of all of this is the ultimate road trip—Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the Cross.
Imagine how elated the Israelites were, returning from their captivity in Babylon. Even better, the once-destroyed Jerusalem had been restored. Their God had saved them and they were going home. Isaiah, their prophet, assured them of God’s loving care for them, comforting, like a mother, giving them abundant cause for rejoicing. Yet how did they travel? The community of Israel went together, supporting each other, but the road must have been hard on them. Their faith and trust in the merciful God of Israel sustained them.
Now imagine the seventy-two disciples being sent to preach the Kingdom and to prepare people for the Good News of Jesus coming into their lives. No food, no money, no luggage, no reservations—just their faith in Jesus and their optimistic enthusiasm for God’s Kingdom. The Good Shepherd had sent his “lambs” into the world of wolves, with instructions to help them deal with rejection and hardship.
Can you imagine the disciples returning from their mission, excited, heady with the successes they experienced on the road? Although they attributed their deeds to the power of the name of Jesus, they were obviously bragging about what they accomplished. In today’s second reading, Paul is writing to the community of Galatia, reminding them that the only appropriate boast is in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Expecting the cross, we might find that our fellow laborers in the fields have dwindled in number. So we pray for companions on our own journeys to walk with us in faithful joy.
Today’s Readings: Is 66:10–14c; Ps 66:1–3, 4–5, 6–7, 16, 20; Gal 6:14–18; Lk 10:1–12, 17–20 [1–9]