Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The mission of the Twelve

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Wednesday September 22 2021

Lk 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

The Gospel today describes the mission of the Twelve: “He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick].” In the next chapter, St. Luke also puts on record an almost similar set of instructions to the seventy-two disciples (Lk 10:1-12).
What is quite remarkable here are the instructions of Jesus to the Twelve in doing their mission. No matter how strange they may seem to anybody, these instructions have important meaning and significance.

The first instruction is: “Take nothing for the journey.” No money, no food, no walking staff, no second tunic. Not only should they travel light; Jesus also makes sure that they are different from the other groups, such as the Essenes, the Pharisees, and the Zealots. These also have their own missionaries (cf. Mt 23:15). But their missionaries are advised to carry a walking staff, and a bag for their food. Jesus, on the other hand, encourages His disciples to trust in God’s providence and in the generosity and hospitality of the people. They will be supported by the people in return for the services they render. After all, “the laborer deserves his wages” (Lk 10:7).

Then they should remain in the first house where they enter, until they leave the place (Lk 9:4; 10:7). That is, there should be some stability in their relationship with the people, and avoid going from one house to another, seeking better amenities. They cannot be choosy and demanding in their attitude in order to gain the people’s respect and trust. And, in places where they and their message are not welcome, they are to shake the dust from their feet “in testimony against them.” This act signifies that the people’s refusal to accept the disciples is already a rejection of God Himself who sent them.

Next, they are instructed to cure the sick and drive out the devils (Lk 9:1; 10:9; Mt 10:8). As heralds of the good news, they are to bring healing to those who are sick, and freedom to those enslaved by evil spirits. This is a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Lk 11:20). While the other groups exclude the public sinners, the lepers and the handicapped, believing that these are punishments for their sins, His disciples must make it known that they are equally welcome to receive the goodness and mercy of God.

And since they are not to bring their own food, the Lord instructs them: “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you” (Lk 10:8). With this, Jesus sets aside the laws of purity, and declares all foods clean. He insists that what makes a man impure is not what he eats, but what comes out of him (Mt 7:18-23). Purity is not determined by the observance of external rituals of purification and other cultural and religious norms, but by following the inner spirit of the law, namely, love and compassion.

It should be noted that all these instructions can be summed up in two most basic Christian virtues: humility and charity. The disciples are sent on a mission to proclaim the Good News. They are just instruments of God. Their success in their mission lies not in their talents and abilities, but in God’s abundant graces. And in doing their mission, the disciples have only one motivation: charity or love. They do all these good deeds for the love of God and neighbor. Nothing else.

St. Padre Pio says something about these virtues: “Humility and charity are the master chords that all other virtues depend upon. The one is the lowest, the other the highest. The preservation of the entire building depends on the foundation and the roof. If the heart keeps itself directed in the exercise of these, no difficulty will be encountered in the others. These are the mothers of virtue, the others follow them as the chicks do their mother.”

As Christians, we, too, are being sent by the Lord to proclaim the Good News. Let humility and love be our guiding virtues and motivation in our life and mission.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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