Heralds of the Gospel
Last week’s Gospel began the central vehicle of the Gospel of Luke,
Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. As I
mentioned last weekend, this section of the Gospel of Luke presents the
journey of Jesus to his passion, death and resurrection as a prototype of the
journey of all Christians with the Lord to fulfill the will of the Father.
We saw last week that nothing could stop the Lord from his journey.
He set his face like flint. Those
who would not follow Him, the Samaritans who rejected James and John’s
announcement that Jesus was coming, the men who wanted to put off following
Jesus, these would be left behind in
Today’s Gospel is the next section of the journey in Luke.
It is very positive. Jesus
sends seventy disciples to announce the coming of God’s Kingdom.
They returned laughing and shouting and full of joy.
They saw God’s power working through them.
Jesus himself is beside himself with joy. “I have watched Satan fall
from the sky like lightning,” He says,
The new order, the new world, was beginning.
Let’s look a little closer at the seventy.
First of all, you might say, “My missallette says, seventy-two, not
seventy.” Actually, some translations of the Bible put the number as seventy,
some others as seventy-two.
The Catholic editions of the Bible see a significance
in the number being seventy. Why?
Seventy was also the number of men that composed the ruling Jewish
council in Jesus’ day, the Sanhedrin. In
the Book of Genesis seventy descendants of Jacob moved with him from
Israel to Egypt to begin a new life. In
the Book of Exodus, seventy elders go up the Mountain of God along with Moses to
learn about the new covenant with YHWH. Jesus
appears to have chosen seventy, over and above the twelve, as a sign that
something new was taking place. A
new group of people were being formed who would share in this power.
“Look what I have done,” Jesus says from throne in Revelations
21:5, “I have made all things new.”
And this is where we come in. Christ
sends us all out into our worlds. He
gives us the power to conquer the forces of evil, to
stomp on snakes. He gives us
the power to announce his presence with our lives.
We are not just members of an organization.
We are not just followers of Jesus. We
are the heralds of his Kingdom bringing his presence to others.
We are heralds of God’s Kingdom and conquers of evil when in our jobs
we make moral, Christian decisions. I
have often heard many of you tell me that the workplace is a jungle.
Be a Christian in the jungle. Refrain
from throwing darts at others. If we
do this, and I include myself and all priests who dabble in a deranged desire
for power, we might be embarrassed to realize that one of the reasons for our
concern about how well he and she is doing their jobs is that we might want
their position for ourselves. That’s
the way of the world, the way of the jungle, but not the way of Christ.
Be a herald of the Gospel that says “treat others with fairness and
respect as you also wish to be treated.” This is a new way of being in the
world, different than the norm of operation.
Others will eventually recognize your sincerity.
You may never realize this, but by being a good Christian person in the
business world you are providing others with an experience of Christ.
We are heralds of the Kingdom in our own homes when we continue to work
hard on treating each other with profound respect.
Husbands and wives need to recognize each other as people made in the
image of God. Yes, there are many
blemishes. There are many rough
spots. Don’t let the grey areas
blind you to the beauty of the person you gave your life to in marriage.
Husbands and wives approach God through each other.
Don’t fall into the habit of saying negative things about you spouse to
others. Treat your spouse with
respect and others will experience the Kingdom in your marriage.
Many young couples pick the reading “You are the Light of the world,”
for their wedding gospel. Your
marriages are not just for yourselves. You
were given this vocation to give witness to the world that Christ can and does
live in the sacrament of matrimony.
We often speak about the obligation that children have to respect and
honor their parents, the fourth commandment.
Sometimes, we might not be precise or concrete.
Don’t let your children get away with “sassing back”.
It is your job as a parent to teach your children to respect others in
authority beginning with the way your children speak to you and to your wife or
husband. At the same time, treat
your children with profound respect. When
they get you upset, give yourself a cooling off time so your response can be
constructive. Never belittle your
children. A passing comment, like
“I don’t expect you to be as good as your brother,” can destroy a
child’s self-worth. Don’t say
negative things about your children to others.
It is difficult being good
parents. You may have many rough
areas that you are working on with your children
in your homes. But outside
the doors of your homes, when speaking with others, say nothing but good things
about your children. Your children
will experience the respect their parents have for them.
They will have a clearer view of your love when they hear you saying to
your neighbor, or your relatives, “She or he is really such a good child.”
This is just one of the many ways through which you can be heralds of
God’s Kingdom for your own children.
We should also remember that we have been called to be heralds of the
Kingdom in our nation. Our Founding
Fathers believed in the presence of God’s hand forming us into a country where
the dignity of all would be respected. We
are still learning how to be this nation. It
took our nation a hundred years to recognize that slavery opposed the very
essence of its existence. How could
we be a land of the free if people owned other people?
We are only recently passing laws to ensure the dignity of those who are
physically or mentally challenged. We
are only recently becoming concerned on a national level with the growing
number of the homeless.
A country’s greatness is seen in the way it treats its poorest members.
When we Christians are active in reaching out to others, in fighting for
the rights of all in our nation, then we are bringing a new way into our world.
We are being heralds of the Gospel.
Jesus picked seventy. He sent
them out to bring his power to the world. Everyone
here, everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian, are part of the
seventy. Wherever we go, whatever we
do, we have the ability and the responsibility to proclaim the power and the
presence of Christ.
we all be heralds of the Gospel.