14th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalm 66; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-20
We must die to live, must empty ourselves in order to be filled.
About a week ago a group of us were on pilgrimage in Rome, in St. Peter’s Square, and Pope Francis went by in his Pope-mobile not more than ten feet away, smiling and waving. It was a wonderful moment. The trip was full of wonderful moments. We got to have masses in all these great churches, and we got to see all this great art—Michelangelo’s and Caravaggio’s—and there was pasta and gelato and the light on the stones.
And then it was over. We had to come home. Stupid with jet lag. Ten pounds heavier. And there were lawns to mow and laundry to do, and maybe the internet goes out at the house and we have to spend hours on the phone with tech support and it still isn’t fixed and where or where are all those moments in the sun? Did Rome even happen?
And this is how it is. This is how the readings are today.
We got to have masses in all these great churches, and we got to see all this great art—Michelangelo’s and Caravaggio’s—and there was pasta and gelato and the light on the stones.
In the reading from Isaiah we have this beautiful image of God the mother holding us in her arms and comforting us, and we are told to rejoice, and again to rejoice, because our bodies will flourish like the grass and we will be filled with delight. And the Psalm tells us to shout with our joy, not to hold back at all, because the works of God are tremendous.
But in Galatians Paul is talking about being crucified to the world and how he bears the marks of Jesus in his body, and the whole letter to the Galatians is angry and tense because the people in that place have failed to get the point Paul was making when he was there. And in Luke Jesus is preparing his followers for struggle and persecution as they go out into the world to evangelize, preparing them to have the door slammed in their faces again and again. They are lambs among wolves, he says.