Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 6/7, 2019
In today’s Gospel passage from Luke, we find our Lord appointing disciples to go out and prepare others to receive His invitation into the Kingdom of God. Every verse has something to say about the way a Christian steward should approach others. Let’s look at least one of the coaching tips Christ gives.
“The Lord appointed seventy-two others whom He sent out ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place He intended to visit.” In His wisdom, Christ sent His disciples out not as individuals but in pairs, as teams. This approach to evangelization certainly provided practical advantages. The disciples could lean on each other for mutual support and encouragement, helping each other to stay on task and to put their heads together to pray and problem-solve. This teamwork approach is just as relevant to us modern-day Christian stewards. It takes courage and commitment to go out and invite others into the Christian life. We need to work together to do it well.
However, there is also symbolic importance to working in teams. It points to the reality that when we invite others to embrace the Good News of the Gospel, we are not merely inviting them into a belief system, but into a relationship with Christ. Through that relationship, we are inviting them into Christ’s family, our fellow Christian disciples near and far.
Our parish is our immediate spiritual family in this extended worldwide fold. We are not meant to live as isolated individuals within the parish any more than we are meant to live in isolation within our families. We are meant to be a community. That is why it is so essential for us to foster a vibrant, supportive, welcoming parish life. This is why we emphasize hospitality as one of the pillars of stewardship. It is not enough to point others to Christ; we must invite them to join us in community with Him. We must offer a place and mission for them in the Church and within our parish family.