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A Place to Call Home
Saturday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, here I am—teach me to pray. You bless those who believe without seeing—help my unbelief! I want to love and be loved by you, so I humbly ask you to show me your love in this time of prayer.
- Christ Gives Everything: Just a few days ago in the scriptures, Christ sent his disciples out to prepare the way for him “like lambs among wolves.” They must have been scared, but their experience of Christ’s love for them had driven them to go out anyway. Now, as they came back full of amazement at all they were able to accomplish, they realized that their faith in Christ was well-founded. Christ will always ask us for everything (he is God, after all), but the more we give the more we realize that he takes nothing away, but transforms whatever we give into a greater blessing for us and the world. The apostles did not know what to expect as they set off down the dusty roads of Galilee. All they knew was that they had never met anyone like Christ. He had filled them with a love and confidence they had never experienced, and he wanted them to give that same experience to their countrymen. He told them they were to cure illnesses, but imagine their wonder the first time they extended their hands over a sick man and raised him in the name of Christ! If they hadn’t obeyed, hadn’t trusted, hadn’t set out, hadn’t met the sick, hadn’t raised their hands in healing, they might have missed the ecstasy of giving glory to God by bringing his love and grace to others. We never know what Christ is going to do with us. All he asks is that we trust and obey.
- Rejoice: Although Christ did not hide from his disciples that they were going to do great things, he wanted them to realize that their greatest gift was not what they accomplished (healing lepers), but who they were (children of God). What an immense gift it is that we have been created, and what an even greater gift that there is a place prepared for us in heaven! We all long for a place to call home, for a place of safety where we are unconditionally loved. Christ has already prepared this place for us, and it is waiting for us after our little pilgrimage here on Earth ends. Christ is asking his disciples, and asking us, to keep our faith and confidence in his promise of eternal life, not in worldly success. When that time comes, we draw consolation from Christ’s promise: “Your names are written in heaven.”
- “I Praise You, Father”: There are few times in the Gospels when it explicitly says that Christ rejoiced, and this is one of them. What could Christ have seen in these moments on Earth, so imperfect compared to Heaven, to make him rejoice? The disciples did not let the miracles Christ did through them go to their heads, and their humility filled Christ with joy! Christ loves a humble, childlike heart. When we strive to do the Lord’s will and ask him to bless our successes, along with our weakness, our failures, and imperfections, he rejoices.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for revealing your love to me. I want to make you smile, so help me to be more humble, more childlike, more simple. I know you have a place for me in heaven—help me to keep my eyes on that prize, and never let that star be covered by the clouds of the world or my own selfishness.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will give some witness of my faith, be it in word, deed, or example.
For Further Reflection: There is no writer more knowledgeable about simplicity and humility than St. Therese of Lisieux. Look for her autobiography Story of a Soul, or a collection of her quotes and prayers.
Written by Brother Riley Connors.