In today's Gospel, Jesus sends 72 disciples on a hike. They will be visiting a lot of towns and will be camping along the way.
Unlike us hikers today who plan carefully in order not to forget something we need, Jesus tells them to leave behind their money, their backpack and their sandals. God will provide everything they need. Unlike us who enjoy the camaraderie of other hikers, Jesus says "greet no one along the way." Their hike is not for recreation; it's to proclaim a message, a message that will not always be well received.
This is the first time in the Gospels that Jesus sends his disciples out to proclaim the Good News that "the kingdom of God is at hand." The first thing they were to say upon entering someone's home was "Peace to this household." And yet they were often treated with hostility. Why was this? And for that matter, why does the Church continue to face hostility today?
Or policies that are rooted in fear and promote fear, like denying people their God-given right to immigrate when desperate circumstances require, and like the death penalty, which is totally unnecessary. The Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaims is countercultural and all of us have an obligation to proclaim God’s truth whether it is popular or not. In today's Gospel we learn that sometimes faithfulness to Jesus will require us to face the hostility of those who would rather live a lie than accept the truth.
And one day we will have to give an accounting for what we have done with the many gifts God has given us. Are we doing with our lives what God asks of us? In today's Gospel Jesus sends his disciples out with no money bag, no sack and no sandals to teach us that we can trust God to provide us a means to meet our needs, and by extension, that we are to be the means by which the needs of others are met.
You and I are on a journey through life, hikers whom Jesus sends forth as his emissaries in a very troubled world. Like any hiking trail, there is a definite path to follow. Jesus shows us the way. It is countercultural. It is all in God’s hands. And though there will sometimes be disappointment and rejection, those are just challenges that are part of the journey. All Jesus asks is that we be faithful and trust that everything will work out in the end.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily July 3.
Please read our Comments Policy before posting.Article comments powered by Disqus