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This Sunday we celebrate the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In our Gospel this weekend Jesus “appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” They are to greet the households they enter with the words: “Peace to this household.” and say to them: “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.”
Clearly these 72 were to “prepare the ground” so that people would be receptive to the message of Jesus. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that the practice of people “preparing the ground” for Jesus has never stopped. Perhaps people have not been as intentional as the disciples in this Gospel, yet in my own life, I can think of countless people who by their lives, by their words and actions, have “prepared the ground” so that I would be receptive to the message of Jesus Christ. I would guess this is true for all of us. The challenge for us is to be aware that we too are called to “prepare the ground” so that those we encounter will be receptive to the message of Jesus.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It is a vision of Jerusalem at the end times. Isaiah tells the people: “Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent………………… in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.”
In our second reading this Sunday, we continue to read from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians. Paul is clear and eloquent that if he has anything to boast about it is not status or rank, but the crucified Christ: “may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the Lord had been crucified to me and I to the world.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. Who “prepared the ground” for you, so that you were receptive to the message of Jesus?
2. To whom are you called to “prepare the ground” so that they might be receptive to Christ?
3. Why was it so important for Paul to boast in the cross of Jesus?