The Blue Mountains Franciscan Church,
Sermon Preached by Br Simeon at Springwood on Sunday 3rd July 2016:
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST. YR C.
Gospel: Lk 10: 1-24
“Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.”
A priest was invited to attend a house party. Naturally, he was properly dressed and wearing his Priest’s Collar. A little boy kept staring at him the entire evening..
Finally, the priest asked the little boy what he was staring at. The little boy pointed to the priest’s neck
When the priest finally realized what the boy was pointing at, he asked
the boy; “Do you know why I am wearing that?”
The boy nodded his head yes, and replied,
“It kills fleas and ticks for up to three months”.
In the Name of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
Some ancient Greek manuscripts tell us that the Lord appointed seventy; other Greek manuscripts tells us that the Lord appointed seventy-two. The NIV uses the number seventy-two: “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” There is good textual support from other ancient Greek manuscripts for the number seventy-two, but the NRSV uses the number seventy.
However in reading our Gospel passage this morning, we read… And we ‘hear’….that Jesus commissioned 72, even though we have these other Greek texts stating 70, we’ll stick with what we’ve just read and ‘heard’ and believe that to be what is stated here in our reading today!
Jesus commissions 72 messengers to go before him to prepare for his arrival in the towns along his route to Jerusalem. The number 72 symbolised for the Jews the number of the world’s Gentile nations. In keeping with Luke’s use of symbolic numbers and his Gentile perspective, the 72 disciples represent the new Church’s mission to every nation and people under heaven.
Jesus instructs the seventy-two:
- to keep focused on the ways and values of God — travel light, accept the simple hospitality of those you visit;
- to proclaim God’s peace “amid wolves”;
- to offer hope and healing, not judgement and condemnation;
- to find satisfaction not in what they have done in God’s name but to rejoice in what God has done through them.
Jesus’ vision of Satan’s fall assures the disciples of every age that, despite the dangers of “serpent and scorpion” (First Testament symbols of evil); the good that they do out of faithfulness to their call will ultimately triumph.
Jesus instructs his disciples to “travel light” – not to clutter up our lives with material things and material values, like the pursuit of wealth, status and power.
The Gospel challenges us to make the hard choice and the unpopular decision, to endure the raised eyebrows and suspicious stares of those whose lifestyles and power bases are challenged by the demanding teachings of Jesus.
Jesus sends the seventy-two forth with no magical powers; he invests them with no special authority. They are to go about their work with humility and joy. They are to offer peace to all. They are to accept whatever hospitality is offered to them with gratitude. They are to be Jesus’ agents for healing and reconciliation. And Jesus promises that they will make a difference in people’s lives — and their dedication to the work of the Gospel will make a difference in their own lives, as well.
Jesus commissions the seventy-two disciples of the Gospel–and us-to proclaim peace– peace that is centred in embracing Christ’s attitude of servanthood and his spirit of compassion, peace that enables us to bring forth the good that exists within everyone, peace that is returned to us in extending the blessing of that peace to others.
You may very well be asking the question, ‘how does today’s reading impact my own life; how am I truly a disciple of Christ today, in 2016 and beyond. Am I doing as the 72 did, and if you are still questioning your service in God’s vineyard, by the end of this sermon, let me leave with you this which is from St Teresa of Avila and which is still very relevant and powerful today:
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth,
yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.-St Teresa of Avila