Community Update

(9th July 2022)

Jul 11, 2022

Christ Church Parish

Proper 9

I have gratitude and joy to be with you this morning, celebrating our faith together and sharing the hope and joy of meeting in prayer and adoration.

Today the readings lead us through two very important conditions that everyone who believes in Christ Jesus and follows him should not forget: the joy of being sent to preach the good news (that is, the joy of the mission) and the generosity we can express in serving.

Saint Luke is the only one of the evangelists who presents the mission of the seventy-two.

Some theologians and scholars of the holy scripture believe that there were seventy envoys; others argue that there were seventy-two. It seems that Luke purposely designated the number 72 to coincide with the fact that seventy-two elders were also chosen to help Moses in the Old Testament. According to the account in the book of Numbers, the Spirit of the Lord rested on these seventy-two elders, and they began to prophesy.

We can identify that the Spirit of the Lord also rested on the seventy-two that Jesus sent to every town and place where he intended to go, because only by the power of the Spirit could the mission entrusted to the apostles be carried out: to desire peace for every household, walk lightly, heal the sick, and preach the good news.

In this way the seventy-two had as their main mission to prepare the way for the arrival of the Master in some specific towns and villages.

For that reason, this mission was more similar to the mission of John the Baptist, who also prepared the way for the Messiah by calling people to repent of their sins and change their way of thinking and living, because the kingdom of God was near.

As we see, it was of great importance that the seventy-two went ahead announcing the arrival of the Messiah. It required them to travel lightly, without the luxury of wasting time with those who rejected their message.

At the same time, by traveling in this way, they showed that they fully trusted the one who had sent them. They believed and trusted that their needs would be supplied by the one they served.

Although it is true that Jesus had many followers, not all were willing to accept what it meant to follow him, because the truth of Jesus Christ was uncomfortable; his message was countercultural and broke the traditional scheme of living under the law. Jesus went further, proclaiming that fulfillment is not following a letter, but living the message in community, a community that loves and serves in the name of Jesus. A community that expresses joy, faith and hope in its mission every day.

We all have a vocation and we all respond to it. We are all missionaries, sent to bear witness to our faith, to our being, to our identity, to our joy in carrying out our ministry. Some have...

an academic ministry, that is to say, of all those who form and provide knowledge in the classroom from kindergarten to doctorates, the ministry of health and well-being of people, from home care to the most important surgeries or physical treatments, the ministry of employment and labor, that is, the ministry of the company, of the work space, of growth in all aspects personal, material and economic, the ministry of family and friends where the safe and reliable meeting allows the expression of how we feel and what we need, which allows for our healing, the ministry of personal care, moments of prayer, silence, stillness, physical exercise, recreation, the ministry of the community of faith, of being a church, where our being, our creed, identity and spirituality are expressed, our time for worship but also our time for greeting each other in the coffee hour.

We all have a ministry and we are sent to do it in the best way, with our best effort, every day. The mission is not exclusive to a few, we all have the mission since our baptism. Every time we carry out the renewal of our baptismal covenant, we renew the impetus and fill ourselves with the grace of the Holy Spirit to go to the world, wherever and however we live our day to day, to love and serve the Lord.

For Jesus, choosing the 72 was not determined by social, religious, or academic status. Whatever our condition, we are important to him, because all of us in one way or another have felt the love, mercy, and fruits of Christ's redemption.

Those 72 men and women believed in Jesus and in the power of the Spirit, and that is what made them fit for the mission.

Today God continues to call people like you and me. God chooses us, prepares us, and sends us to that special, important place where we grow in each other's presence and where we provide for each other's growth.

The apostles returned after the accomplished mission with a tone of joy, a spiritual joy that makes the face light up. All we need to do is go to the world to love and serve the Lord.

Amen.