Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Luke 10:1-12,17-20

“The seventy-two came back rejoicing”

St Luke describes how the Lord appointed seventy-two disciples and sent them out to go ahead of him in pairs to spread the Good News. They came back, Luke tells us, “rejoicing” because “even the devils submit to us when we use your name”. Jesus accepted what they had to say and assured them: “I have given you power (over) the whole strength of the enemy”. At the same time he warned them not to place too much emphasis on what they achieved, but focus rather on what God achieved in them - “rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven”.

We too have been appointed with the very same mission, to spread the Good News of salvation and to bring his peace to the people we meet. We are called to become labourers with Jesus in the harvest that is the society in which we live. It is a society that seems so rich and prosperous and yet is so impoverished of the security and peace it so desperately seeks to find. We are called today to labour so that our society may be gradually transformed into a place where the values of the Gospel, often so little understood even by ourselves, will prevail.

But what about the devil submitting to us, as to the seventy-two - surely we fall short on that? Not really. To us also has been given the power to heal the effects of evil. God works through us to subdue the devil whenever we act as peacemakers, when we fight for the protection of innocent life, or campaign for justice, or for the dignity of all, when we fight against hunger and war. We eliminate the devil’s presence when we respond to the Lord’s invitation to be his presence in the world, and when we fill our lives and our world with prayer. When we do these we too should rejoice just as the seventy-two in the Gospel rejoiced, for we too have experienced God’s favour and the work of his grace in our lives.