Sermon for Sunday, 18th October 2020
Isaiah 35:3-6; Luke 10:1-9
There are moments in our life when we ask ourselves: Are we part of a wider reality or just an isolated moment in the history of the Church, of the society? If we think in this way is because, sometime, we consider that we are alone facing the difficulties of our existence. But paying a little more attention to the way that Jesus is facing the reality of his time we can easy understand that no life is an island. Each of us is part of something bigger. At the first sight Jesus’ disciples seem to have the same difficulty, but Jesus shows them that they are more than that. With their first mission they will have the first understanding of the truth: each of them is part from a plan.
In today’s Gospel, we have the sending of the seventy disciples, not to all the cities of Israel, but only to every city and place where Jesus would come. Though, these seventy did not attend him so closely and constantly as the twelve did, they were witnesses of his miracles, and believed in him.
As in the choice of twelve apostles Christ has an eye on the twelve tribes of Israel, so here he seems to have an eye on the seventy elders of Israel, who bore the burden of people along with Moses.
The task of seventy disciples doesn’t sound very inviting. They must set out with an expectation of trouble and persecution. “See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves” (Luck 10, 3-4). Your enemies will be as wolves, but you must be as lambs, patient and gentile, an easy prey for them. Their life was put to the risk, but they must look about, and see how great the harvest was. There was corn ready to be shed and be lost for what of hands to gather it in.
Preparing this sermon, a story from my childhood came into my mind and with your permission I would like to share it with you.
One summer day my mother planted a flower in the garden. She called me and one of my older sisters and told us to water and protect her. She said: “it is a special flower”. For us it was a small plant, nothing else and we let her die. We thought, there are so many gorgeous flowers in the garden, no one will miss her. But our mother did miss her and she was very upset. She told us:”Your mission was to protect the flower, not to decide if she deserves to live or not“.
Our task wasn’t an inviting one, because we didn’t understand the importance of our mission. That small and fragile plant depended on our help to become strong and beautiful.
The disciples’ mission is not an easy one. There is stress, tension and great uncertainty.
They must set out with prayer, the necessities for the souls of men.
Jesus sent them in pairs, that they might strengthen and encourage one another.
The instructions here given them are much the same with those given to the twelve. They must not encumber themselves, as if they were going a long voyage, but depend upon God and others to provide. “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road” (Luke 10, 4-5). They are not to take unnecessary baggage with them, nor waste any time on the road with needless conversation. They must go as serious men.
The disciples must show not only their goodwill, but God’s goodwill, to all to whom they came.
The charge given them was: “Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” (Luck 10, 5-6). Peace be with you.
In our days, we are the seventy sent in mission. We have to bring peace to all; to invite others to come and take the benefit of it. We need to pray for peace
“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Luke 10, 2). It is an invitation, not only for the disciples, but for all of us. We are called to go out in the field, to take hold of the countless opportunities and challenges around us to bring glory to the lord of the harvest.
Our task, to water a flower was too simple and there was no time for that. We had to impress others with more spectacular tasks.
We live in a society which loves “heroes”, the ones who make a lot of noise, and spend a lot of time telling others about their heroics deeds. But the ones who sacrificed their life for their family, friends, neighbours, the ones who suffer in silence in their room from disease and loneliness, the ones who lost everything they had, and they work hard to find a reason to continue to live, the ones how lost their loved ones, they are not heroes in our society, just unlucky people.
You may think that our mission as Christians is not very attractive one. We would like to live our vocation in a more visible way, to change the world, to show others who we are, but from my experience I have learnt one think, the biggest changes, missions start with the smallest thinks.
Sometime seems boring, too common but this is the way, how the Christians change the world. This is the way that Jesus worked.
Think to the roll of a teacher. He or she spends a lot of time teaching a child how to write and read. His, her patience, gentleness help the child to become confident and to love the new world.
Our mission is to work in our community, to welcome everyone, to share what we have received, the Good News. Trough our life we are invited to tell and show others that we are people of God, and there is no bigger honor than this. It is not easy. It forces us to step out of our comfort zone in order to find new and creative ways to spread the Gospel.
Last week at the end of the lecture, the professor saw us tired and more confused than before. He smiled and said: “No worry guys if you don’t understand everything, because I have two good news for you: first, the one who believes in Jesus always will have a seat in front of the table close to him; second, there are no reserved seats for VIP”.
Cornelia Noghiu , Prittlewell, Southend on Sea