Life is a journey
June 28, 2022
Faith meets reason: Philosophy and Theology
June 28, 2022

14th Sunday in OT (C)

Distraction attraction By Jacqui-Theresa Leiba

Luke 10:1–12, 17–20

In sending out the 72 to heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God, Jesus instructs and cautions the disciples. They are to be on their guard for all kinds of wolves. Those of the world and their own desires, disordered tendencies and relationships to persons and things.

The Lord sends us persons who love, care for, and teach us about His love. The “pair” He sends ahead of Him begins at birth with mother and father; but this is not always the case. The gospel invites us to identify persons who helped us experience God’s nearness because of their love and care.  We thank God for sending such persons into our lives. The Lord asks us to be these kind of labourers for the Kingdom.

The Lord warns the disciples that He is sending them out “like lambs among wolves”.  The wolves are the distractions; the ways of the world; the traps and temptations that may cause them to stumble and fall.  A good reason to send them out in pairs, since two may be stronger together.

The mission is urgent (“start off now”) and Jesus instructs them, “Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.”  The disciples must trust God to provide their every need. “Salute no one” might mean to avoid extending special greetings to those in positions of power and authority. The influential receive the same courtesies extended to the poor and uninfluential; nothing more. Engaging in superfluous ole’ talk, Trini style, while bowing and kowtowing, is strictly forbidden.  The disciples are to stick to the barest essentials in all things.

On entering homes, the disciples extend the greatest courtesy. Their words of greeting, “Peace to this house!” is not wishful thinking.  Peace heals the world and is a cure for many ills. It is a gift the Lord gives His disciples. Jesus gave His disciples the power to bestow that healing peace onto others, but on condition.  If a person of peace lives in the house, the gift of peace will rest on him or her, but if not, the peace the disciples have given would return to them. In seeking to be persons of peace, we ask the Lord for His peace.

Dietary needs, religious observances, or personal tastes notwithstanding, the disciples are to eat what is set before them and not go from house to house seeking a “sweet hand” cook or certain creature comforts.  Throughout the gospel we see that spiritual detachment, self-discipline and maturity are critical.

The disciples’ work includes curing the sick. How is that possible today? The corporal and spiritual acts of mercy are works of love directed to others, out of a heart of love for God. God is Love. Love cures the sick. His disciples working through His Spirit can pass on the cure.  Through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, disciples labour in a myriad of ways, according to their gifts, giving glory to God and keeping the harvest rich.

We carefully note the Lord’s final warning to His disciples: “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you. Rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.”  The warning is stark in its simplicity and can be reworded, “Be careful of rejoicing over spiritual gifts which are temporary and may even result in spiritual pride.  Keep your heart and mind fixed on Christ and rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” What blessed assurance!

“The kingdom of God is very near.”  The same message is to be extended in every place and town, whether the disciples are welcomed or not. God is an equal opportunity lover who invites all to repent and believe the Good News.  As relationship with the Lord deepens from acquaintanceship to friendship and intimacy, we too discover the nearness of His Kingdom in the daily joys and vagaries of life.


Prayer:  Dear Lord, help me to not become distracted and to keep my mind and heart fixed on the nearness of Your kingdom and eternity with You.  Amen.


Jacqui-Theresa Leiba is a Catholic primary school teacher and parishioner of St Patrick’s RC Church, Newtown.

Photo by Rachel Martin on Unsplash