6 Practical Principles for Proclaiming the Kingdom
User’s Guide to Sunday, July 3
Sunday, July 3, is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Mass readings: Isaiah 66:10-14c; Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 or Luke 10:1-9.
In the Gospel today, Jesus gives a number of practical principles for those who would proclaim the Kingdom. Let’s look at each of them in turn and consider what they mean for us today.
The Gospel opens with Jesus noting: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” He then appoints 72 disciples to go forth in pairs to prepare the towns that he will visit. The Lord describes here a very serious situation: There is an abundant harvest, but there are few willing to work at it. There are many people today who shrug at this, presuming it’s no big deal because nearly everyone will be saved anyway. Never mind that Jesus said the opposite quite explicitly: Many, if not most, are heading down the road of loss and damnation (e.g., Matthew 7:13; Luke 13:24). This myopic presumption and false optimism is unbiblical and, frankly, slothful. Yes, the need is urgent. We need to be serious about this. There are many even among our own families and friends who have left the practice of the faith and who are somewhere on the continuum from indifference to outright hostility toward the holy faith. We must work to restore them to the Church and to the Lord; otherwise, they are likely to be lost.
Jesus said, “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” We must be cognizant that we are being sent into a world that is often hostile to the faith. We should not despair or be dismissive of this hostility; we must be sober and clear about it.
Jesus then counsels them to wish peace upon the towns and villages they enter but, if rejected, to shake the dust from their feet as they leave. We ought not take rejection personally. We ought to remember that it is Jesus they are rejecting, not us. Yes, we are to be serene and secure in the truth of the message and not consumed with how people react to us.
The text says, “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.” One of the things that keeps many of us from fully preaching the Kingdom is that we are encumbered by so many things and so many activities. The Lord tells us to travel light, for then we shall be unencumbered, available and free. Too often today, spiritual truths are neglected and crowded out by worldly concerns such as money and possessions and popularity. Thus the Lord counsels us to travel light, to simplify.
The Lord says, “Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you. … Do not move about from one house to another.” In other words, find out where home is, where the Lord wants you, and then stay there. Stop all this modern running around. Develop in-depth relationships and stability where the Gospel can be preached and lived.
Jesus says, “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.’” Eat what is set before you. In other words, wherever possible, reverence the local culture; build on common ground; find and affirm what is right. Be gracious! Simple human kindness and a gracious demeanor go a long way toward opening doors for the Gospel. To cure the sick is also to extend kindness and share in human concerns.
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