Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Discerning the Central from the Marginal (Feast of Sts. Timothy and Titus, Jan. 26, 2010, Luke 10:1-9)

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
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Jesus sends out seventy-two of his followers in today's gospel reading with an admonition that we who are in the "business" of proclaiming the gospel should never forget: "Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals". A life of simplicity, detachment from excess, an interest and concern only for what we need to carry out our mission effectively, and an attachment only to the goal that Jesus has set for us--these are perhaps the best instruments we have in bringing the work he gave us to fruition. As always, the ability to discern that which is necessary and central to our work, from those that are unimportant and peripheral is the key. We must do Christ's work; everything else is extra.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)