CHRIST’S INVITATION TO HIS SALVIFIC MISSION
First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14; Second Reading: Galatians 6:14-18; Gospel: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Life is a journey that is imbued with difficulties and challenges. However, every deplorable situation we find ourselves in life, no matter how long it may have lasted, is ephemeral, and has expiry date. As long as there is life, there is hope of restoration, deliverance and breakthrough. This is God’s assurance to His children, which can be actualized by the Power of the Holy Spirit, through different people who may have been commissioned by God to cross our paths in life (Isaiah 30:20-21; Exodus 23:20).
In the first reading, prophet Isaiah describes in poetic and symbolic language the prosperity and peace which the New Jerusalem will enjoy. He encouraged the returned exiles who were depressed and downcast when they saw the deplorable state of their country, to rebuild the city, and to continue hoping for Divine restoration in the messianic days, a New Jerusalem where there will be peace, joy and prosperity by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall suck, you shall be carried upon her hip, and fondled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants” (Isaiah 66:12-14).
Meanwhile, when Jesus Christ began His public ministry, knowing fully well that He could not do the work alone, He first of all chose twelve apostles to assist Him. Consequently, when He realized that the mission has expanded, He further called others to join Him in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Just as we observed in the gospel reading of last Sunday (Luke 9:51-62).
In today’s Gospel, Jesus Christ instructed His seventy-two disciples that would help His mission of propagating the Kingdom of God, on how they should carry out their mission. Thus, He empowered them, and sent them out in pairs ahead of Him, into every town and place where He Himself would be visiting. To go and preach as well as salvage people from their predicaments. Jesus Christ said to them: “Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.” (Luke 10:3-6).
Although, the mission may not have been easy for them, of which Jesus Christ had notified them beforehand, of the possibilities of unforeseen circumstances, such as; rejection or resistance they may witness by other religious groups, or disgruntled elements. But, because they were empowered by Jesus Christ, and through their faith and trust in God, they recorded tremendous transformation and victory over the demons or forces of darkness; thereby bringing healing, peace, joy and breakthrough among the people they were sent to (Luke 10:17).
Certainly, any position of honour we attain or occupy in life, is an invitation to the salvific mission of Christ. That is to say, it is a call to salvage humanity from that which deprives or inhibits her joy, peace and progress, both physically and spiritually. Hence, we are called, like the seventy-two disciples, to join hands together and rebuild our deplorable societies, by casting out the demons of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, political/ religious bigotry, tribalism, hatred, injustice, selflessness, betrayal, wickedness, etc., within us. When we do this, then, the Kingdom of God has come to us, and subsequently, peace, joy and breakthrough would prevail in our families, societies and entire world.
Therefore, since Christ has redeemed us by the Power of His blood, and commissioned us to go out and proclaim the Good news of the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20), we ought to take this obligatory task very serious. Moreover, it is very pertinent for us to note that, the ranks of labourers in the Lord’s vineyard were expanded by Jesus Christ Himself, in order to embrace all and sundry. It is not only the duty of the Pope, bishops, priests, deacons, pastors, evangelists, etc., but that of every baptized Christian, and by extension, every human person.
Nevertheless, these can be achieved only when we love one another, in truth and sincerity. Moreover, we can only express our sincere love for one another, when we constantly keep, before our minds, Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, which brought about the realization of God’s eternal salvific plan for humanity; just like St. Paul enunciated in the second reading. As Christians, we have been become adopted children of God, with an intrinsic difference, which the life-giving principle of the Spirit of God has created in us. That is to say, our lives as Christians ought to create a positive change in the world, because of our regenerated minds by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).
Finally, Christ has redeemed us by His precious blood, and thus empowered us by the Holy Spirit. Hence, He invites us to continue His salvific mission here on earth until His Parousia. Besides, we can achieve this when we unanimously agree to work together as God’s children, irrespective of our differences, denominations, tribes, etc., and be honest with ourselves. Just as the seventy-two disciples, who were empowered and sent in pairs in today’s gospel collaborated with each other, and thus recorded huge success. Therefore, our faith and trust in God are indispensable in order for us to record tremendous transformation and victory over the forces of darkness in our society.
Also, we should not always be discouraged, especially whenever we find ourselves in a deplorable situation. For God Almighty will definitely intervene in our situation by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and grant us healing, peace, joy, breakthrough, and in the end, eternal life.
May the Almighty God deliver you and your family from the forces of darkness, and empower you to salvage others from their predicaments, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.
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