Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 7, 2019)

Imagine for a moment what those early disciples must have felt like as Jesus sends them out on their first mission to announce: “The reign of God is at hand.”

He sent them to prepare the towns and villages for his coming. They were to proclaim “peace” everywhere they went. And he gave them power to cure the sick.

Marvelous things must have happened on their journeys because they come back overjoyed with their experience: “Even the demons are subject to us in your name.”

Jesus shares their joy, but he warns them: don’t get so caught up in the power you have that you forget that you are disciples who have been created anew by placing your faith and trust in me. I am the source of your salvation; any power you have comes from me.

St. Paul learned that early in his ministry. We hear it echoed in his letter to the Galatians: “May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This kind of humility is key to the effectiveness of Jesus’ disciples.

Any good that we are able to do happens primarily through our cooperation with God’s grace. That is why we are urged to put our gifts at the service of the Church. Sharing our gifts for the good of one another enables us to grow, not only in our love, but in our humility.

Jesus sends us out into the world every day to announce by the way we live that the reign of God is here. We must try to bring Christ’s peace to everyone we meet and everything we do. We can do that best when we begin our day by remembering God’s presence in us and asking for the grace to live this day well as a faithful disciple.

We may often feel like lambs among wolves; Jesus told us we would. That’s all the more reason to stay focused on the presence and grace of God within us. He will give us what we need to be good news to the world around us. May we learn to boast in nothing but the cross of Jesus. From him comes the saving power of grace.