for Sunday, July 3, 2016
Today the Lord invites us to follow Him and to preach His Good News to others. There is much joy in the readings today but also a sense of urgency and a bit of harshness. These readings reflect the reality of seeking to follow the Lord and be faithful to Him.
The first reading is from the Prophet Isaiah and is plucked out of a chapter which deals mostly with the harshness of living in exile, of returning to the Promised Land and of have to struggle to be faithful even though the people are back in the land promised to them. Most of this section of Isaiah is about hardship and yet once in a while we find intense joy, as in this image of God as a mother who nurtures her children. The author turns from the hardships which the people are living to point out that God really does care. How often we ourselves doubt the love of God or God's care for us when we face hardship.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Galatians and tells us to rejoice in the Cross, to rejoice in the suffering that we must endure in order to follow the Lord. We can see how clearly this is a Christian interpretation of the same reality that their Jewish ancestors had suffered in exile. The challenge is for each one of us: when we suffer or are reviled or made fun of, we can identify with Christ or we can rebel and reject the sufferings. The teaching is clear: seek Jesus Himself and accept the sufferings as a way of unity and peace.
The Gospel of Luke today tells about the sending of the disciples. It is clear that Jesus expected His followers to experience welcome and also rejection. The disciples may well not be received with love and openness. They are simply to tell others that they will face a judgment for not receiving them. That is not easy! There is no argument, no meanness, just a statement of the truth.
For us today, the challenge is the same: Proclaim Jesus Christ! Proclaim Jesus in the way we live and in the way we deal with adversity, suffering and rejection. It is not easy to walk the way of the Lord, but it brings an incredible awareness of God's love and God's maternal care for us. We are sent by Jesus. Let us live in Jesus!
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: