Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Chapter 10 of the Book of Genesis enumerates the family of nations and tribes that sprung as descendants of Noah and his family. It shows generations of families that God wanted to be His own. God sent them leaders and prophets to guide them, so that they would be faithful to Him, yet most of them have transgressed against His commands. Jesus gathered disciples and sent them to the places that He would visit, and many would not receive Him. Today we do not only have 72 nations and tribes, neither do we expect only 72 disciples and missionaries to be sent. Today there are 196 countries in the world (geography.about.com, 2013), thousands of tribes and organizations throughout the world; and there is no country, tribe or organization that does not need disciples/missionaries, so that they would learn of Jesus and receive the great blessings and graces God has prepared for His children. The Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church of Vatican Council II proclaims that “all sons of the Church should have a lively awareness of their responsibility to the world; they should foster in themselves a truly catholic spirit; they should spend their forces in the work of evangelization. And yet, let everyone know that their first and most important obligation for the spread of the Faith is this: to lead a profoundly Christian life” (#36).
Our Gospel today teaches us very interesting lessons:
1. Only he who has the attitude of a servant can serve and become a disciple of Jesus. A master who looks down on his servant cannot serve, as he makes his authority and power felt. He has to be the boss. Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8). He also asked His disciples to “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Lk 10:2), so that all nations can hear the Word of God, through an increase of vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life, faithful parents, catechists and responsible Christians.
2. Only with the attitude of a faithful servant can a person develop his sense of gratitude, for his life depends on his master. He can only be happy that his master and his family benefit from his work. So it is with man in relation with God, his Creator and Master, as:
– when a person teaches, it is God who teaches, so that others will learn of the goodness and mercy of God;
– when a person is healed of an infirmity, it is God who heals, so that he could return to his work and relationships, and others would see the power and glory of God;
– when a person serves, it is Jesus who serves, so others would learn that service is a gift for others and carries the dignity of God, the Creator;
– when a priest consecrates the bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Jesus, it is God who consecrates, and Jesus who becomes the food, so that He can be with His people who need to be holy;
– when a good idea comes up for the development of others, it is God who shows Himself to His children who need His wisdom;
– when the congregation celebrates the sacraments, it is God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who is celebrated as family of life, love and service, so that all may be one in Him. So, what can anyone boast of? St. Paul proclaimed: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).
When Jesus commanded His disciples to carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way…. to stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to them…. and cure the sick in it (cf Lk 10:4-9), He, the Master, was sending them as servants. A servant’s life is his work: to serve his master and to be available when called. The servant has no time to waste. Likewise, we do not have the luxury of time for things that are not of God. Jesus would later say: “seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:31-32).
To be a servant of the Lord is itself a gift. It is a gift of life, a gift of mission for us to prepare every place on earth, wherever we are, to be visited by the Lord. Let us not waste our time. Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of our Mother Mary, the first servant-handmaid of the Jesus, for the gift of vigilance as His servants, disciples and missionaries. Let us also ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of awareness of His presence, and for the grace to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. Let us teach others about Jesus by celebrating the Eucharist fervently with them, and thank Him for the many ways of being present to His people. We are not worthy that He should come to us, but with His Word, reflected on, lived and proclaimed, we shall be healed.