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Contents: Volume 2 - Fourteenth Sunday - C
July 3, 2022

 

  The

14th

SUNDAY

 (C)

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Dennis Keller and Charlie

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

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Sun. 14 C 2022

The Gospel selection according to Luke connects with the Lord's view of the work we do and the reward we receive. I think the words are applicable to both our vocation and our occupation and probably to our leisure activities and hobbies as well. Whether we include our efforts at parenting, office work, administering to the sick, teaching, preaching, gardening, donating to a shelter, shopping, advocacy, doing laundry (my favorite) , creating Church or civil policy or anything else, it seems to me that Jesus's words indicate that it is NOT our efforts that prompt a heavenly reward to be on the guest list of heaven.

Ok, then, can I have at least one day off!? Oh, guess not, it is time for me to write my weekly reflection. So yes, we absolutely do need to put our best efforts forth and, preceded by prayer, feel confident that the outcome of the activity is in the Lord's hands, not ours.

I think that Jesus's words put an added perspective, however, to the thought attributed to St. Augustine/St. Ignatius to pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you. Jesus sends the seventy-two to be laborers in the harvest. When they return and report to him, Jesus then tells them and us to rejoice because "your names are written in heaven". They are written in heaven only because of Jesus's "yes" to his passion, death, and resurrection. Our decision to follow Jesus through our Baptismal promises and continual renewal of that "yes" is our agreement to and a type of participation in Jesus's actions as our Savior. That remains true even if we fail at whatever actions we do now in Jesus's Name and even when we sin. God made a plan for that; we need to cooperate with it.

We as humans have all felt great disappointment when our efforts have been monumental but the visible outcome was minuscule or, even worse, negative. What might we do after we get out of our funk ? I think we remember the saints' thoughts about God's power and ours and then add something by tipping the equation.

We need to prepare to enter the heavenly banquet through our intentional prayer and actions. We need to be cognizant that we are laborers in God's kingdom here on earth. The added part to this "showing up" is that we need to rely totally on Blessed Assurance. God's got this. I'm back to work... no day off but I will take a nap!

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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Fourteenth Sunday of Ordered Time July 3, 2022

Isaiah 66:10-14; Responsorial Psalm 66; Galatians 6:14-16; Gospel Acclamation Colossians 3:15-16; Luke 10:1-12 & 17-20

This beautiful first reading from Isaiah dates from the period immediately following the Babylonian captivity. Cyrus the Great of Persia has encouraged the Jews to return to their homeland, now after all these years overrun with thieves, murderers, and a lot of very poor people. The only Jews left after the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem were the very poor, the very marginalized people at the bottom of every status, economic, educational, social, and religious. Wasn’t much left for the Jews returning to be glad about. But it was home, the center of their faith and the center of their hopes for an independent future. Isaiah encourages them to rejoice at their home coming, even though the home was devastated, in such a mess it would decades to reestablish the city. Rejoice those who love her, exult with her all those that mourn over her. So much had been lost. The exiles returning to their ancestral home were never familiar with the city except through the talk of their parents and grandparents. Isaiah paints a delightful picture of prosperity. He insists that God is with them, and all will return to prosperity and vitality. Jerusalem is portrayed in this reading as a wonderful mother who will nurse them all back to health. This is a foretelling of the heavenly Jerusalem where is peace and healing and delight in each one’s existence. Here will be discovered contentment and love and being loved. Oh, to find ourselves in that Jerusalem, that city of Peace. Can we not discover in ourselves the mourning for those we lose to violence, to ignorance, to starvation for lack of nourishment, and, worse still, starvation from a lack of attention and love by others?

The Responsorial Psalm is the peoples’ answer to this message of hope and fulfillment of longing hearts. This shout to God brims over with joy at the discovery of God present. Each sacrament makes that presence near and sets us up to live in that presence. Singing this prayer song as a community of hope, we’ll discover the very presence of this merciful, compassionate, and unconditional lover that is God. It is in this participation in song as church that our hearts are opened toward God. We are raised up and become closer to becoming the New Creation Paul writes about in the second reading. For God is present when we seek God. Doesn’t meant that the cross is gone: its stays but we have help in carrying it and dying on it from what holds us back. God is near when we look for God’s Presence. God works with us in all we do if we seek God’s help. Our history teaches us that – how often have we found peace and love in our lives when we look for it?

The second reading brings up something seldom preached. Paul writes to the Galatians about a new creation. At the center, at the initiation of that new creation, there is the raised-up Jesus. He is the prototype of the New Creation. In baptism, that entrance into a community of faith-filled who seek that new creation we have a beginning. In baptism we buried to the old person and rise from the water into the way of the cross that results in becoming the new creation that is Jesus The baptismal commitment is about accepting God as our source, our goal, and our hope. The other sacraments move us along to becoming a new creation. When Jesus returned to his disciples as the New Creation they thought him a ghost. Rather he had entered a new creation in himself, living where its reality is described as "what eye has not seen, nor ear has heard," an existence for us because we love God. That is the result of dying – we pass through to becoming a New Creation – complete with Spirit and body. For we fail to be human without the manifestation of our spirit which is the body through which we learn, through which we experience, through which we share and learn to love.

Dying has two arenas. One dying occurs with the bodies still living from birth. That dying is learning how to let go of self so as to love others and in that dying accepting God’s gratuitous love for us. The other dying is a final leaving of time and an escape into eternity, into eternity as a new creation as did Jesus. How else could he pass through locked doors, how else could he eat, and drink were he merely a spirit? How else could he be touched? How else could he be where he wanted to be without lots of walking? The disciples were witnesses to that New Creation. And that’s our destiny if we’ve spent the gift of our living growing in our spirits. No one witnessed the event of his being raised up. All who were witnesses were witnesses to him as the New Creation, the model for each of us.

Then comes that third reading from the gospel when seventy-two are sent out. Why seventy-two? Look back at the covenant with the Hebrew People. Seventy-two elders were chosen to assist Moses in guiding and growing the presence of Their God. That terrible and difficult forty-year march through the desert – a period of trial and of growth in understanding the presence of God with them – that terrible time brought them to the promised land. Our promised land is more than a land flowing with milk and honey. It is a condition and existence beyond anything our imagination can imagine on its own.

There were also seventy-two members of the Sanhedrin, that governing body of Judaism. Also, at that time in history it was thought there were seventy-two nations in the world. Thus, every nation would have had potentially a disciple to instruct them.

Jesus warns these seventy-two to be direct, and not to lose their way. They must not lose their way by becoming hirelings. They should know there will be some who do not listen, or if listening, have too much in their living that blocks acceptance of the good news. In our reading the planners of this liturgy skip a couple of verses. Missing are a couple of "woes." Jesus directs those woes to Chorazin, to Bethsaida, and Capernaum. No where else in the gospels do we hear about Chorazin, except here. Their response was so poor that even Luke chooses not to mention its name anywhere else. Scripture scholars believe that Chorazin was a city in which Jesus worked many miracles, preached the good news. But the people turned their backs on the message and presence of God. Again, Jesus warns these seventy-two not to be proud of being able to cast out evil spirits. They should rejoice like rejoicing in the first reading from Isaiah where people returning from exile rejoice at returning home – to a New Creation. The period of mourning and struggle – in short, the cross in everyone’s life – is a preamble to becoming a New Creation ourselves. That is the meaning of Jesus telling them to rejoice because their names are written in heaven. The focus looks more to living than it does to compliance with laws, precepts, or rituals. It is the person who grows in love of God and neighbor whose final death, the final cross borne by the faithful, brings this person into the New Creation – which eye has not seen nor ear heard.

Our life is more than a strict adherence to laws, regulations, rituals, and cultural devotions. Perhaps those are the more frequent topics of homilies because those are easier to explain than growth in the spiritual life because of the crosses we bear. But it is the message of love and compassion that lifts us up and prepares for the process we call dying. For the death on the Cross – our suffering in our time and place – that death is followed as it was in the manner of Jesus. We die and are re-created, becoming that new creation, or not. Suffering is removed in the new creation, and we enter into a condition of rejoicing and exultation. But what is not lost is the scars and pains of our suffering, nor the joys and delights of our personal living. Just as Jesus retained the scars of the nails, thorns, and piercing, so also we human persons carry with us what we experienced.

Our rejoicing and exulting is no mere crowd noise. It arises from deep within our spirits and lasts forever. Again, clear knowledge of this condition/place is not currently available even through vivid imaginings. We come as persons and as such it’s not likely to be boring or without new experiences.

Dennis Keller (with Charlie) dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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BEING PEACEMAKERS: 14TH SUNDAY YEAR C

Isaiah 66:1014; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Helen Keller is a famous woman. She was 20 months old when she lost her sight and hearing. Soon she lost her ability to speak as well. But through the patience of Annie Sullivan, her teacher, she learned to read and write in Braille. In 1904 she gained her Bachelor of Arts degree. Not long after, she began to write books and tour the world with inspiring and encouraging messages for deaf and blind people. One night after a lecture, someone asked her: ‘If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?’ The questioner expected to hear her say: ‘My wish would be to see and hear.’ But she answered: ‘My wish would be for world peace.’

Jesus would have applauded her answer. ‘Happy are the peacemakers,’ he told the crowds on the mountain, ‘they are the children of God’ (Mt 5:9) In today’s gospel we hear him say to his disciples and therefore to us: ‘Whatever house you go into ‘let your first words be, "Peace to this house!" (Lk10:5).’ In harmony with Jesus, you and I will shortly be reaching out to the people near us with our sincere wish: ‘Peace be with you!’

For both Helen Keller and Jesus, what peace means, and what the greeting of peace means, is what the Jewish people from way back have called ‘shalom.’ For them ‘shalom!’ was and still is, the ordinary greeting. They don’t say ‘hello!’ ‘hi!’ or ‘good day!’; they say ‘shalom!’ They understand peace as a gift from God, whom they see as peace in person. In wishing peace to others, they are wishing them perfect well-being. Such well-being comes from being in a right relationship with God and with our fellow human beings, a relationship we call ‘communion.’

For the Jews, God’s gift of peace has included rain to make the crops grow, rich harvests of grain, freedom from enemies and wild beasts, and an experience of God dwelling among God’s people and binding Godself to them in a covenant of love. But there can be no prosperity and well-being without justice. There can be no peace without the willingness to wish for others and give to others what Australians call a ‘fair go.’ This reminds me of a connected saying of Indira Gandhi, one-time Prime Minister of India: ‘You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.’

Throughout the New Testament, references to peace (shalom) mean not just a state of inner peace and calm, but also a state of harmonious relations within the Christian community. This is what Paul means when he says again and again in his letters: ‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ This is what your priest means when he greets you at the start of Mass with the words: ‘The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you...’

But what is particularly important in the teaching of Jesus, is that we be people of peace and goodwill to everybody else, peace-makers and not just peace-lovers. One Christmas morning in Northern Ireland, in the height of ‘the troubles,’ a Catholic priest went across the road to wish the Protestant minister and his congregation a happy Christmas. The minister received him warmly, returned his greeting, and later made a return visit. However, some elders of his Church reacted with anger and took steps to have the minister removed from his parish. But those two church leaders were only doing what Jesus wanted them to do – to be instruments of peace, goodwill, friendship, hospitality, and reconciliation, in a troubled and divided society.

Being a person of peace and working for peace means welcoming not only those who are close to us but also those who annoy us and disagree with us. To take the path of peace is to accept people as they are, with all their strengths, limits, and weaknesses.

We come to Mass to receive blessings from the Lord. If we took nothing else away with us but peace, our time would be well spent. The end of Mass is not like the end of a football match or the end of a movie where we simply get up and go. At the end of Mass, we are sent out. Having received the peace of Christ, we are then sent out as instruments and ambassadors of the peace of Christ to others.

To keep on being people of peace ourselves, and to help break down the walls of any rivalry, bigotry, hatred, prejudice, suspicion, fear, anger, and bitterness among us, we need to keep praying that amazing peace-prayer of St Francis of Assisi. So, today let us pray, and continue to pray day after day: ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.’

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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Year C: 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house!’".

When we were in the Jesuit noviceship, just beginning our training for priesthood, the novice master decided to send us all on a pilgrimage in the North of Spain. He had been reading the life of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and had got to the part where St Ignatius himself went on a long pilgrimage in the North of Spain and received many wonderful spiritual insights which guided the rest of his life. So our novice master decided that it that was good enough for St Ignatius, it was good enough for us.

(And by the way, I am absolutely sure that the thought never even crossed his mind that with the novices safely out of the way, he could go off on holiday for five weeks.)

To make matters worse, the novice master had also been reading the Gospels, so he decided to send us out with no purse, no haversack and so on.

We appealed to his better nature! And after some tense negotiation, it was agreed that we could have a rucksack and a sleeping bag – but no money and only one day of provisions. We would have to depend on the goodness and generosity of the people we met for shelter, food and water.

The route that he had marked out for us lay over 500 kilometres – 350miles - forty days walking over dry, sparsely populated desert lands in the height of summer, with mid-day temperatures well over a hundred degrees. And in that time, our novice master asked us to relive the experience of Jesus in the Desert, preparing himself for his public ministry – testing himself with physical hardships – hunger, thirst, weariness and homelessness – and in this time of hardship being tempted time and again by the Devil to give way to weakness and despair.

Now I have to tell you that we were a bit worried about this – and not just the physical challenge. You see, this was just after the Falklands war, when – you will remember - Britain defeated Argentina, with great loss of life. The Spanish had been heavily on the side of Argentina, their fellow Spanish speaking nation and, as a result, many Spanish people had come to dislike the British. Add to that, we were walking through part of the country – the Basque region – which was then having a prolonged terrorist war and where the people were said to be very hostile to all foreigners. So, to be honest, we were just a bit nervous as we set out and we were not at all sure how we would be received and certainly not at all sure if we would ever get fed.

The novice master assured us that it would be a great test of our Faith in Providence and that we would learn lessons that would last a lifetime.

Well, the first thing we learned was how quickly you can learn a language when you are really hungry – Tengo hambre! Tengo Sed!

The second was that this whole idea of the pilgrimage being a test of our commitment just wasn’t going to work. The trouble was that the Spanish people ruined it. They were just much too nice. Wherever we went, people welcomed us. Basques, Catalans, Castilians – it didn’t matter – they all welcomed us. They opened their homes to us; they fed us; they watered us; they encouraged us. When they knew we were training for the priesthood, they wanted to do everything they could to help us. For all five hundred clicks, we walked on air, carried along – like a kite – on an immense gale of people’s good-will. All of us who were there remember that pilgrimage that had been intended to test us to breaking point and beyond as the most affirming experience we have ever had of our place in the Society of Jesus and in the priesthood.

And, eventually, we got back to the noviceship and our sour old novice-master. He asked us what it had been like. And we told him: we told him of the goodness of the people. We told him of their generosity – of their eagerness to help us in training to serve the Church. We told him everything.

And do you know what – he couldn’t believe us!

And I don’t blame him – if I had not experienced it myself, I would not have believed it either.

So I made myself two promises.

The first that – every time I am tempted to think the worst of people I don’t actually know, or of situations I have not yet encountered, I would try to remember the people of the Basque country. And I would embark upon whatever God sends me to do with hope.

And a second promise – that someday I would return the favour to other foreigners, homeless and destitute and in need of food, water, shelter and encouragement in their journey towards the service of God. Because it is good to be the recipient of God’s Providence, but it is great to be the vehicle through whom God provides for His people.

Let us stand and profess our Faith in God’s Providence in the World.

Paul O'Reilly <fatbaldnproud@opalityone.net>

 

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