Sunday Readings Notes for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C, July 7th
Sunday Readings Notes – 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C – July 7th
We often find that we enjoy having power and influence over at least some aspect of life. Jesus surprises us in next week’s Sunday Gospel about where the most profound power and effectiveness come from. Jesus teaches this in the context of sending out seventy-two disciples – in addition to the Apostles – on a training mission of sorts, sending them out two-by-two to prepare the people of various towns and places where Jesus was planning to visit.
First of all, Jesus allowed these disciples to experience the surprising power of proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord.” Upon their return from those towns and villages they reported how amazing it was that even demons responded and were driven out because of Jesus’ name. Simply To calling upon the name of Jesus, which means in Hebrew, “God will save his people [from their sins],” was powerful enough for people to experience relief from their sins and freedom from spiritual oppression. Simply speaking the name of Jesus and proclaiming that He was going to visit a village or place was all that was needed for providing healing in preparation for Jesus’ visit.
Secondly, Jesus taught the disciples about the enduring power of offering the gift of peace. He taught them to offer the blessing words and phrase: “Peace to this household.” If peaceful people live in that house, those words of blessing will reinforce that peacefulness. Recall the expression, “joys shared are joys doubled; sorrows shared are sorrows halved.” If the people of that household aren’t peaceful and don’t want to hear words or blessings about peace, the disciples didn’t need to be afraid that such words would be wasted or even be a provocation. The gift of peace is strong enough that even when it is offered and refused, it would return and continue to bless the people offering that peace.
Finally, there is significant power in proclaiming the Gospel together with others, at least two-by-two. In the July 2016 Magnificat devotional magazine, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day, is quoted in the Day by Day meditation for Sunday, July 3rd.
She says, “Together with the works of mercy, feeding, clothing, and sheltering our brothers [and sisters], we must indoctrinate [i.e., teach/catechize about Jesus]. We must ‘give reason for the faith that is in us.’ Otherwise we are scattered members of the Body of Christ, we are not ‘all members of one another.’ Otherwise our religion is an opiate, for ourselves alone, for our comfort or for our individual safety or indifferent custom. We cannot live alone. We cannot go to heaven alone. Otherwise, as Péguy said, God will say to us, ‘Where are the others?’ If we do not keep indoctrinating, we lose the vision. And if we lose the vision, we become merely philanthropists, doling out palliatives” (p. 50).
May the Lord help us to experience the power of His name, the enduring power of the gift of peace and the power of proclaiming the Gospel together with other people of faith and how all these prepare us for the gift of eternal life together in heaven.