This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Friday of the Twenty-Eighth Week In Ordinary Time
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The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to be among that crowd of 72? Picture it…
“Hey Bob, you know that guy Jesus? He is the real deal! I hear a whole group is gathering together to go and spread the word. Let’s head over!” [Later after they get down to the group's gather spot...] “Bob, did you hear that? Jesus said we need to head out in pairs. Oh, you already paired with Steve? Ok. No problem. Let me see who’s left – Tom? No, he talks to too much. Jeff? No, he has the weird eye thing; people may not let us in their house. Stan? Yes, Stan! I hope Stan doesn’t have a partner. His tunic is clean and he’s charismatic, so we’ll probably be welcomed by people.”
Ok, so that modernized version may be a little out of whack, but simple human nature would assume that among a group of that size people were positioning for partners and the basis for why we choose partners isn’t always the best. We do this from a very early age. From the playground to the workplace.
Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals…
The Lord tells us that He is sending you like lambs among wolves. But since the Lord created every single one of us out of his pure love, then many (most? all?) of those wolves are simply lambs in wolves’ clothing. They think this clothing will protect them. Protection from the fierceness of their life. It is a choice.
In my line of work, I have experienced some pretty fierce people. And I’ll admit, on occasion they had met their match in me. Though, over time and through the grace of God, I have realized that these people are protecting something very precious to them, their pride. And I can put myself right in the middle of them. Covering ourselves in armor like cynicism, judgment, or materialism creates a superficial comfort. I wonder if that is how the wolf feels in his pack? If the wolf steps out of line in the order of the pack, the leaders will likely attack. What a dangerous environment to live in, to be so “protected” by fangs (hateful words) and fur (superabundance).
Years ago, I was at a lecture series and a presenter said that he intentionally wears neutral colors when he gives a speech. Why? So people would focus on what he is saying not what he is wearing. I love this concept! No distraction from being me. But who am I being?
The Lord calls us to be labors for Him. However to accomplish this, I do not think the Lord wants his disciples to be uncomfortable. Far from it! He simply wants them to be focused with the right kind of armor. No distractions on the mission – No money bag, no sack, no sandals. Have faith and those comforts will be provided.
Trying to impress people with what you have is futile. With God’s direction, you are enough. And the Lord’s words are so perfect – the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment.
Start with love in your heart (“first say, ‘Peace to this household.’”).
We have this within our reach every moment of every day, with every person we encounter. If they choose to accept it, then wonderful! If they do not accept it, then you get to experience what the Lord experienced. The Lord sees all.
Be love and enjoy the company of other people. Especially in places like work when it may seem God is the furthest away, but if you look closely there too you will find lambs protecting themselves with armor of fangs and fur. When we choose to look beyond the armor and the wolves’ clothing is taken away, and we instead accept the hand of our fellow men and women, we are in fact accepting that the “Kingdom of God is at hand” for all of us.
This meditation was written by Kim Elenez, wife, mother and media executive in Dallas, Texas. (75)
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