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Messengers of Peace
Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, as I come to prayer, I ask you to show me your heart and to share your longings with me that they might become mine as well. You ask me to be moved by the abundant needs in this world and to pray for more laborers for the harvest. Help me to open my heart to your answer to this prayer in my own heart, and to be willing to become part of the answer through my commitment to being a sower of peace in this world.
- He Sent Them in Pairs: Jesus sent his disciples to prepare the way ahead of him. They were to give testimony of their own experience, of how their own lives had been changed through their relationship with the Master, and so enkindle in their listeners the desire for a similarly transformative encounter with Jesus. When Jesus arrived in these towns, he would find hearts already opened to his words: good soil in which to plant seeds of eternal life. Today, too, he sends us ahead of him to the homes, streets, and public places we frequent. We are called to be his witnesses, very often not even through our words, but primarily through the sincere, unpretentious testimony of a Christian genuinely and joyfully striving to live according to the Gospel. Such a testimony is a powerful invitation to others to take an interest in the secret behind the fruitfulness of our lives and disposes their hearts to the future action of grace.
- Carry Nothing: Jesus sent his disciples to mission without the support of material guarantees. He wanted them to learn that the success of their ministry was not to be found in human securities but in the power of his word at work in them. Just as they were to rely on God’s providence to provide for their material needs–food, drink, or a replacement sandal if something went awry–so too, and more importantly, were they to rely on his action, and not their prepared discourses and eloquence, in order to minister effectively. Self-reliance can work its way into our spiritual lives and apostolic work in very subtle ways. All too often, we can be tempted to overplan down to the last dot and comma, leaving God little room to provide our “daily bread.” If our attention is too occupied studying the map we have laid out for ourselves, we may fail to notice the Spirit’s gentle directions calling us to testify to his love.
- Peace to This Household: Jesus calls us to be sowers of peace—indiscriminate sowers of peace. Jesus does not ask his disciples to evaluate others’ worthiness before offering them the blessing of peace. It is not for them to judge the merits of those to whom they minister. They are called to be sowers who freely spread the good news that they have been privileged to receive and who leave it to God to bring that seed to fruition. We are not to ration that which we have received, but to give it freely. Peace that is shared will multiply and come back to bless us, even when it is not well-received by those to whom it is offered. However, grace that is allowed to grow stagnant within our hearts will dry up and wither. Are we sowers of peace wherever we go?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to be aware that I am “sent” by you each and every day, not only when I am explicitly engaged in apostolate, but rather in every moment, by reason of your Spirit living in me. You have allowed me to encounter your love, and you call me to find deepest joy in loving as you love. Grant me the grace to be a sower of peace, to be a true reflection of your love for those I encounter throughout my day. Help me to give freely of what I have received from you, and to be capable of recognizing your gentle invitations to be an instrument of your love in the most unexpected of places.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take a moment to become aware of a person in my life who I might unconsciously consider undeserving of my gift of peace. I will seek to offer a tangible gesture of peace to this person, with the desire that Jesus might be able to express his love for that person through me.
For Further Reflection: Contemplate the lyrics of the Prayer of St. Francis.
Teresa Williams grew up in the Detroit, Michigan, area. She felt God’s call to consecrate her life to him at a young age and has been living out her vocation as a consecrated member of Regnum Christi since 2002. She has earned degrees in education and religious sciences, and worked with young people in Ireland and several cities in Mexico. Currently, she is living and working in Monterrey, Mexico.
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