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Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to see you in those around us, and to bring you to those who need your grace, your peace, and your healing touch. Be with me on each step of my journey, especially during these moments of prayer.
- There Is Work to Be Done: The world in the twenty first century, as in biblical times, has many souls who are sick, spiritually dead, or physically or mentally ill. Demons are everywhere. There is a need for healing. Jesus told the disciples that, as they had obtained their faith “without cost,” they were to offer that faith to others at no charge. He tells us to do the same. We are called to share the Good News in our families, our neighborhoods, and our larger community. But to do so, we must pare down–live with a healthy detachment from material goods–and trust that Jesus will provide what we need to be effective witnesses of his love to the world.
- The Laborer Deserves His Keep: Jesus’ followers were told to “look for a worthy person” in each town they visited, and to lodge in that person’s household until it was time to move on. We can be that “worthy person” by opening our hearts and homes to missionaries, our parish priests, charitable groups, bible studies, etc. By this hospitality, we support the works of the Spirit in our neighborhood and community. Furthermore, we can be hospitable, in the fullest sense, to those who do the Lord’s work, by contributing our own time, talent, and treasure, as well as by prayer and sacrifice.
- Shake the Dust: Within a few sentences, Jesus offered what could be seen as a paradoxical message. On the one hand, he sent his Apostles out to heal the sick, raise the dead, and drive out demons. On the other hand, if they were blocked from doing so in a particular place, he told them to move on! The Scriptures speak often of “hardness of heart.” Some individuals are simply not open or ready to receive the Good News. We meet them where they are, love them, serve them, and still they reject us. When that happens, we must leave them, at least for a while, and pray and fast for their total restoration by grace.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, too often I have gone about doing your work, with the expectation of a temporal reward. Help me to turn away from the need for praise, knowing that you are the one worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. Through the intercession of St. John the Baptist, help me to live simply, and by my hospitality and witness of faith and humility, lead others to your peace.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I resolve to support, through prayer and penance, your missionaries throughout the world. I resolve to participate, joyfully, in your work of salvation, however and wherever you choose to use me to do your will.
For Further Reflection: Writing on the meaning of faith, Pope Benedict XVI points to the words from the Catechism: “‘No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life.’ Paul’s description of his experience of conversion and baptism alludes to faith’s radical character: ‘It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). Faith is a perishing of the mere self and precisely a resurrection of the true self.” It is not our mere selves, but our true selves, that Jesus sends into the world to proclaim his Gospel.
Dorothy Warner is a writer living in the Washington, D.C., area. When not engaged in writing, artisanal baking, volunteering, or gardening, she can be found working for a technology company or spending time with her husband and family, and all their pets.
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