A HOMILY FOR THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 7/3/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
It is certainly no secret that travel has changed a great deal in the last fifteen years, most especially air travel. But pretty much wherever we go, and whatever mode of transportation that we choose to use, things have changed after Sept. 11th, 2001. Terror attacks on buses, and trains, and subways, and boats, and of course, on airliners, have made enhanced security measures a part of our lives. Even this past week, we saw the pictures of the attack on the airport in Istanbul. And so, we have become very used to the TSA telling us what we can bring with us on a trip, and what we can’t bring with us on a trip. And so today we know that we can’t bring any liquid over 3 ounces in our carry-on, into the main cabin of a plane. You can’t bring a knife, or a gun, or fireworks onto a plane either. They also watch out for lithium batteries, and printer ink cartridges, and bombs in our shoes, all of which have been used by terrorists in recent years. Today, packing for a trip, especially when you are flying, you have to be very careful. You have to think about what’s allowed, and what’s not allowed.
After hearing our Gospel today, one wonders if Jesus doesn’t work for the TSA. Jesus is giving very specific travel advice to the 72, as He sends them out to do His work. And Jesus is very clear, take no money bag, no sack, and no sandals. You talk about traveling light! Jesus wanted those working for Him to have complete trust and reliance on God, not on themselves or their things.
Maybe the better question that we need to ask today, especially as God sends all of us out into the world this week, at the end of Mass, is what exactly DO we need to take with us, as we head out to do God’s work, as we go to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is at hand for you. Well, to be Jesus’ disciple, even the world today, you most need to have Faith and trust. God is real. And this is God’s work that we are supposed to be doing. God will give us everything that we need to build His Kingdom, and to bring others to Christ! We’ve got to trust that. We’ve got to rely on that! We don’t need sandals or an extra tunic, because God has got us covered. He will give us what we need, as we need it.
Secondly, we need to have God’s love in our hearts, and we need to be in love with God ourselves. When you really know God’s love, that’s when you want to share it with others. You want to talk about it. You want to bring others to Faith. We can’t head out to proclaim the Kingdom of God a reality, and NOT have God’s love in our heart for all His people, every single one of them. God’s best missionaries are chock full of love for Him and for His people. And so must we be, if we are to really reach those who need Christ. Love makes all the difference, between whether people will listen to us, or not. Love goes a long way in building the Kingdom of God and making it a reality!
Thirdly, working for Christ and building His Kingdom takes a great deal of humility. It will never be about us. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do when you go to work for Jesus, is to get out of the way and let Him be in charge. We are not, by nature, humble people. We have to willingly work, every day, to be humble, to trust, and to let God be in charge. This means, that things aren’t always going to happen the way that we want, or when we want. We don’t give up. We don’t quit. We keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing, trusting that God will bring good out of our efforts, even when we don’t see it.
Finally, this Gospel reminds us, that to go to work for God is like being sheep amongst the wolves. It is dangerous out there, and I’m not talking about ISIS or radical Islam. The real enemy, the devil, is ready to pounce at every moment. We’ve got to be smart, and clever, and use all our best skills to resist him, to protect ourselves and our brothers and sisters. It is too easy to get eaten alive out there, even with the greatest Faith. We must use our best wits, to stay ahead.
Jesus’ advice today is as appropriate as ever. He does sound a little like the TSA. But that’s only because He wants to protect us, and wants us to persevere in our important work of building the Kingdom of God!