May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts, today’s Gospel should give us all pause.
In today’s Jesus does not send out only the Apostles, or his “professional followers” but rather he sends out the Church, His Church, in other words he sent out all those who followed Him then, and those who follow Him now.
Today’s Gospel reminds us that he sends out you into the world to preach the kingdom.
The Scripture scholars tell us that 70 is a symbolic number, a universal number, which many scholars believe was meant to include everyone.
This passage teaches us that evangelization (the sharing of the gospel the sharing of our faith) is not just the work of our priests or the religious leaders.
It is not just the work of those who wear a habit or a funny black shirt with a little white collar.
Today’s Gospel proclaims a universal call to ministry which will be repeated over and over again in the ministry of Jesus.
At the end of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus commands all of his followers “go and make disciples of all men baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Sadly we all know that this universal call to evangelization often falls on deaf ears.
Especially when you sit in the pew of a Catholic Church.
For many of us our religious practice has become a private devotional thing rather than a radical witness to the love and truths of God.
I think this happens for a couple of reasons, here are just a few:
We all know that there have been moments in the life of the Church when the laity was encouraged to not get involved, or participate in the mission of the church.
Church leaders felt that the Gospel and the deposit of faith were safer and more secure in the hands of the priests and religious.
You guys were supposed to just come and listen sit in the pews and do what you are told.
Hopefully this type of Clericalism is gone by the wayside... but truth be told it has not been gone for a long time.
Another reason that many just don’t get involved in the preaching of the Gospel is because for many years we just haven’t done a good job of giving the members of our Church the knowledge they need to know what to say and how to bring others to faith.
Many people just don't’ feel qualified or even more comfortable enought to share our faith, and yes it our fault, but it is also yours .
If a Catholic does not feel informed enough to share the gifts to the Gospel it is their job to get informed to read, to study to pray, to listen and to go deeper in their love and appreciation of the gift of our faith.
We’ve tried to help a little with fr. Peter’s build up faith seminars, we’ve concentrated more on giving meaningful homilies sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t. But it not for lack of trying I assure you.
Another reason that many do not take the step of sharing their faith is because they have filled up their lives with so many other things.
That’s what the Gospel is speaking about when Jesus tells the disciples to carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.
Sometimes, many times we fill our lives with so many things that we have no time for God. IIt just not convenient for us to become more active in our faith.
Some people are so consumed about the things that they posses that they don’t even have time for other people, people close to them, their own family, parents or children.
In one of the commentaries I read, a scripture scholar toured a luxurious castle, and as he walked out he said “these are things that make it difficult to die.” When we find ourselves saying the same thing about our possessions and position, we have made a great mistake.
Everything we own, everything we posses, should bring us closer to God no farther away from Him and the practice of our faith.
Nothing on earth
Nothing we posses
Nothing we long for should block our view of heaven our home and our final destiny.
And so good people there is much to be done, The Gospel is clear the harvest is abundant but the labors are too few.
All anyone has to do is look around our country and our world and know that we all need God and something has to change.
In the seminary I had the privilege of have a professor who had survived a concentration camp.
That experience had change his life
Even 40 years after the concentration camp he had a keen insight into what was really important and what was not.
One day in class he stopped his explanation of this passage we heard today and paused. It was a long pause and we all wondered what was going on.
When he finally spoke we were all very attentive.
And this is what he said.
We all sin.
We all have done things that we are ashamed
We have all failed to love as God called us to do.
These failings are all part of human weakness and God will forgive them.
Then he looked us all in the eye and continued
In the end we will be judged by how many people we brought to faith. Period.
Evangelization is so important because if even one generation drops the ball the message is lost and souls are lost.
Souls are lost.
We all of us, are the 70 Jesus sent out into the world
we are all of us sent are called to proclaim the Good news by our lives and if necessary by our word.
Let us be about our work for by our witness it we will be judged.