Reflection: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

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[1st Reading – Is.66:10-14; Ps.65; 2nd Reading – Gal.6:14-18; Gospel – Lk.10:1-12,17-20]

The Church today is inviting us to “rejoice” and to cry out with joy to God (refrain to the Psalm) because the Lord will reveal his hand to his servants (first reading) through which these servants become a new creation (second reading).  Furthermore, the gospel is inviting us to rejoice because our “names are written in heaven”.

One may ask: What does it mean by ‘our names written in heaven’? Why should we rejoice, cry out with joy to God and become a new creation?  If the Lord, as he promised, will reveal his hand to his servants, then, why should we bother to do anything ourselves and instead just wait for it to happen?

The context of the gospel shows that even though God is generous and takes the initiative, He awaits for our co-operation and response to his action.  Jesus appointed 72 ‘other’ disciples (not to be confused with the 12 Apostles!) and sent them before him … These additional disciples were appointed to prepare the way of the Lord and did things that Jesus himself would be doing later on.  But before they started out on their journey, Jesus asked them to “ask the Lord of the harvest” i.e. to pray and to be united with God the Father (the Lord of the harvest).  Once united with the Father, they will then have the same motivation and power to do the same things as Jesus himself.  They were to trust wholeheartedly in God and take nothing with them and share ‘peace’ wherever they go; they were to cure the sick and announce the presence of the Lord … i.e. everything as Jesus would himself do later.  All these activities are to be carried out like “lambs amongst wolves” i.e. obedience to God and opposition from the world.  We are told that the 72 did all these things and returned to Jesus “rejoicing” and told Jesus that even the devils submit themselves to them “when they use Jesus’ name”.  Jesus was clearly happy for them that they shared with him the power that was his, but he also reminds them to rejoice not because of all these things but because their names were written in heaven!

Having their name written in heaven means more than having a relationship with the Father – it means sharing of the same power of Jesus which in turn shifts them closer to the Father in heaven and therefore they also participate in Christ’s relationship with him and with the Holy Spirit!

Is my own name “written in heaven”?  What have I done, or what am I doing to have my name written there?  Am I ready to prepare the way of the Lord and share his peace to everyone around me?

“Lord, you chose me like your 72 ‘other’ disciples in today’s gospel, to prepare your way.  Give me the strength to be able to do what you ask of me without hesitation.  Thank you Lord!”

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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