October 3, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 10:1-12

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.”

Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong):

     In tomorrow’s Gospel Jesus gave a lot of instructions when He commissioned 70 of his disciples to go on mission.  But what struck me most was the instruction of Jesus to his disciples about “Traveling light”. What did Jesus really mean by traveling light?

      I remember when I was still working as an auditor and had to travel from one place to another for auditing engagements, it was always a problem for me to pack things that I would bring on every trip. More often than not, I would be bringing a lot of things that would result to excess baggage and had to pay additional fee for it.  Well, through time, I was able to learn my lessons and eventually learned how to “travel light.” Of course aside from the convenience of getting away from long ques of checking-in luggage, I would be paying a lesser amount for the ticket.

     But is this also what Jesus wants from the disciples to experience? Well, there were no planes yet before so that checking-in was not yet a problem for them, and of course, by just bringing only few items with them, it would be easier for the disciples to travel and preach the good news from one place to another. And we could just imagine if each of the disciples would be bringing with them trunks and trunks of things.

     I believe this is not what Jesus wants His disciples to consider. “Traveling light,” means – to only take what is essential and leave behind whatever would distract them – in order to concentrate on the task of proclaiming the Word of God. That they must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting reward or payment.

     As a seminarian, I also believe that Jesus is telling me to travel light while I am still in the process of becoming a priest. Maybe to check myself whether I am already acquiring a lot of things or even concerns that already hinder or distract me from focusing on my tasks and goals in becoming the proclaimer of the Word of God. These could be things that I would be acquiring from my years of stay here in the seminary, like clothes, shoes, gadgets or may be books just for personal readings. Or maybe the many personal concerns that I still bring with me in the seminary, such as the career that I left behind, my family or even my life outside.

     The challenge for me therefore is how would I be able to free myself from the bondage of these worldly concerns so that I may be able to have as what Jesus said: “ A poverty of spirit” that will free me from greed and preoccupation with possessions and make ample room for God’s provision and be dependent only on Him and not on myself.

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