Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 07, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Stephen Mifsud (Mission Society of St. Paul  – Quezon City)
Anticipated Sunday Mass at MSSP House Chapel / Mass for the poor)


Reading 1 Is 66:10-14c

Thus says the LORD: Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Reading 2 Gal 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation.  Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

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.”


If someone tells you to go to swim in the sea were there are many sharks, would you go?

Jesus is telling his disciples to go like lambs in the midst of wolves... is Jesus crazy?
Jesus is saying that there is evil in the world and we have to bring change, not by violence but with goodness. That’s why he used the comparison of the lambs and wolves.

What are the wolves Jesus is mentioning?

In some countries, wolves can be people of other religions who don’t accept Christians and try to kill us... Last week a Syrian Catholic priest Francois Murad was beheaded while extremist Muslims were taking video of him and cheering... wolves who want to destroy those who do good and speak about Jesus. But there are other wolves who are not so aggressive but nonetheless, they try to kill the message that we Christians want to bring. A message that speaks about healing, forgiveness, peace and love. A message of truth. 

For example, I know a teacher who was falsely accused of things he did not do, because of jealous companions who wanted to destroy him. I know people who try to be righteous, against corruption, and were expelled from their work. We find many wolves who want to feed on others like wolves. People putting obstacles in the business of others so that theirs will flourish. Sometimes even in church, people judge and chismiz on others, trying to destroy the unity and the character of their leaders. 

I need to ask myself: am I a lamb or a wolf?

The lamb according to Jesus are those who bring PEACE... go and bring peace to others. The lambs are those who bring healing to the sick.

The lambs are not just the priests. The Gospel is very clear... Jesus sends 72 disciples. Disciples mean those who are following Jesus by listening to His Word and try living it in their lives. So all of us who try to follow Jesus’ words are lambs... and although it is not easy, we still have to continue to be people who bring peace, people who love others and bring healing were there are divisions, solidarity where there is hardship, friendship when there is hatred. 

One thing is sure... there will be joy for the person who experiences the mission of Jesus. Like the disciples who returned rejoicing, we, too, will feel joy and peace in our heart when we share Christ to the others.

Do you want to rejoice? Of course, yes. So be people of peace, love others and don’t be afraid of those who try to stop you.

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