Jun 7 2019 Reflection
Sunday 7 July 2019
First Reading: IS 66:10-14C
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Second Reading: GAL 6:14-18
Gospel Reading: LK 10:1-12, 17-20
Today’s Note: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go 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,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
May I never boast except in the cross. (Galatians 6:14)
The church in Galatia was struggling. The people there had gladly welcomed Paul’s simple message: Jesus Christ died for their sins, rose for their salvation, and was now inviting them to embrace that salvation through faith and baptism. But after Paul left Galatia, other people arrived with a more complicated message: if you don’t embrace all of Jewish law, especially circumcision, your salvation is incomplete. You have to become a Jewish convert as well as a Christian.
When Paul got wind of this, he fired off a harsh letter of rebuke. “Are you so stupid?” he asked. “It is those who have faith who are children of Abraham,” not just those who are circumcised (Galatians 3:3, 7).
For Paul, the issue went to the heart of the gospel message. If the Galatians embraced circumcision, they would be perpetuating the old division between Jew and Gentile that Jesus had come to destroy. Not only that, but they would be feeding the lie that Jesus belongs only to a certain class or type of people. “There is neither Jew nor Greek,” Paul told them, “there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
This is one of the most powerful truths of our faith: in Christ, every division is wiped out. Being a Christian is not a matter of deciding who is “in” and who is “out.” Neither are there different “levels” or “classes” of believers. There’s only everybody. We are all equally sinners who are equally loved by God and forgiven by the cross. The question is whether we will accept this salvation and let God’s love heal our divided hearts and change our divisive actions.
Paul never wanted to “boast” about anything that made him feel special or better than other people (Galatians 6:14). The gift of God’s merciful, liberating, transforming love outshone everything else. This love is available to you today at Mass. Come and taste it. Let it break down every division in your heart.
“Jesus, reduce me to love!”