Thoughts on the Readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070316.cfm 

In our Gospel this Sunday, we are told that Jesus appointed 72 of his disciples and “sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.”  (These 72 are in addition to the 12 disciples he had sent out in chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel.)  In sending out the 72 he gave them clear and specific instructions.  “Carry no money bag, no sack,  no sandals; and greet no one along the way.”   Further, they were told: “Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment.”   When the disciples entered a town if they were welcomed, they were to “cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand.”  If a town didn’t receive them they were to “go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’” 

At first glance, the instructions to take nothing with them and not to move around if they find better lodgings might seem a bit severe.   I think the reason for these instructions was twofold.  First, the disciples were to rely solely on God.  Taking nothing with them reinforced this.   And second, the reason for their mission was to proclaim the kingdom of God.   They were not to get caught up in their own needs and wants.  

Our first reading this Sunday is from the final chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  The Israelites had returned to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon.   In the section we read this weekend, the message is clear.  Despite their exile, God continued to love and care for his people, and offered them another chance to live in the covenant God had made with them.  The people were called to “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her;  exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her………………...Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.”   

In our second reading this Sunday we continue to read from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians.  In the selection we read this weekend, Paul is clear about his reason for rejoicing:  “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…………”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. In our Gospel this weekend Jesus is clear that nothing is to hold his disciples back from proclaiming the Kingdom of God.   Is there something that holds you back from following Christ?  
  2. What does the Kingdom of God mean to you?  How are you called to proclaim it? 
  3. What do you think Paul meant when he talked about boasting in the cross of Jesus?   
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