+Peace and Goodness to you this day!
It is no secret to anyone who travels even minimally, that the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA, has radically changed the way that we travel in this country, especially in the last twelve years, or since Sept. 11th, 2001. The TSA is doing everything that they can to keep us safe, from full-body scans, to not allowing any large containers of liquid in main passenger cabins, to making us take our shoes and belts off so that they can also be scanned, before we fly. Unfortunately today, all of their efforts, and all of that time and money spent on securing air travel, is what is demanded in the unsafe world that we now live in. We know this. Perhaps it was at least a little surprising, then, this past week, when the TSA revealed photos and lists of the hundreds of knives, arrows, swords, axes, and yes, guns, that they have confiscated at U.S. airports just in the last three months! The catch even netted eight semi-automatic assault weapons! We are told that these things that hundreds of individual travelers brought to the airport in their carry-on luggage, and then just forgot that they had them inside! Last Sunday night, it was a pro-golfer in Florida who forgot that he had his gun on him. How do you forget this? Most especially, when you’re going to the airport and intending to fly, how do you forget that you have a gun in your bag, or huge hunting knife, or a semi-automatic assault weapon? I don’t get it. But the TSA says it happens a lot. For most of us, we’ve gotten used to the TSA telling us what we can bring on the airplane, and what we can’t. It has simply become part of traveling.
We come to Mass today, and we hear Jesus getting ready to send out the 72 disciples on their first ministry experience. And in some ways, Jesus sounds like the TSA! Take this. Don’t take that. You can bring one of those along, but don’t bring a second one. Jesus, just like the TSA, is giving His followers some pretty specific travel advice here. Jesus has a very clear way that He wants His disciples to proceed. Now, at first, it just sound like Jesus wants the disciples to travel light. It makes sense. It is easier to move around more, and cover more territory, and not be weighted down with all kinds of luggage, if you are traveling with less. But Jesus isn’t really concerned with the weight of the disciples bags. What He is desperately concerned about, and very much trying to teach His followers, is that when they go out to do God’s work, they are to trust and rely on God. God will provide for them. They don’t need to trust their own abilities, or their own things, or even their own money. God is going to provide for them exactly what they need, when they need it. This was extremely important to Jesus, and why? Because from the very beginning, it was always going to be God doing the work, God taking care of things, and NOT us. God works through us. We are just instruments. People building the Kingdom of God, people like us today, have got to make sure that we get it right. We’ve got to put our trust in the right place. And it is not in us, or our things, or our money, or our abilities, the right place is in God’s safe hands. You see, my brothers and sisters, that it is so easy, when you’re working for God, to get this all turned around and messed up. We are working for Him, and it is NOT the other way around. He’s got us covered. All we have to do is trust and believe, and let Him be in charge of our lives.
Want proof of just how well this works? Read the end of our Gospel today. The 72 disciples come back and they are amazed at what God has done. They have seen things, and done things, and said things, that they never ever thought were possible before Jesus sent them out. That is not an uncommon experience for those who work for God, even for those who work for God today! Want to be completely blown away by God’s greatness? Go to work for Him for just one day. Give Him one entire day where you will serve Him, and bear witness to Him, and speak and teach His Word to others, and I promise you, you will not believe what God can do, even through YOU! But it’s got to be God doing it. All we have to do is give Him the chance.
This is a life-changing Gospel we have today. Jesus’ travel tips are a million times better than any advice that the TSA has to offer. And Jesus will not only keep you safe, but He will help you to build the Kingdom of God, right in front of your eyes! May we always put our trust in God, first and foremost!
And may God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!