14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
"True Contentment Within Is In Christ Alone"
Luke 10:1-2, 17-20
In today's gospel selection from the thoughts of the Evangelist Luke, there is for us today genuine relevance because we continue to face the work of the Kingdom of God. It is to our benefit to reflect on the directions that Jesus has entrusted to his apostles. This gospel can be likened to the talks fathers and mothers offer their teen-aged children who are preparing to step out into the real world. It can be likened to the warm, caring moments a grandparent shares with grandchildren whose future means so much to them and their families.
Parents and grandparents know that there are "wolves" waiting to devour the new "lambs" coming out into this contemporary world. What can sheep do against wolves? Nothing! It is the natural weakness of sheep that necessitates a shepherd's care and guidance. So what are we to do, facing such an opposition?
First and foremost, Jesus advises his "sheep" that they should leave solitude for the monasteries. Lone Rangers today are not successful. Success today, as it was in the times of the apostles, demands that we work with others. Look at successful companies: while the initial idea may have come from an insight of one person, it usually takes at least one other to help in building the company. Isn't there more power in two than in one? So, too, for us who seek to live life in the Kingdom of God on this earth: we need to be a part of a community of believers. Our faith takes on stronger power for our hearts and souls when we are sharing the walk of faith together with other colleagues.
Who of us is there who has not learned that being self-sufficient and self-reliant is little more than pride: "I can do it alone. I don't need anyone else!" This is why Jesus told the disciples he was sending on missions NOT to take extra items along on the mission journey. Think of times when we pack the suitcases for a vacation: how often are we tempted to bring along our entire wardrobe! Are they "vacations"if we return home and find more than a items of clothing that were never used? Just baggage to weigh ourselves down.
When we find ourselves wanting more, wanting a higher position in life, wanting more recognition in our communities, even in our extended families, we should recognize that these feelings of want are but the birthing process of discontent and envy. In so many instances these "passions" can never be satisfied. Genuine contentment is to be found in Jesus Christ not in "somewhere else, with someone else or doing something else." Jesus is source of the answers for the man or woman seeking what our hands and hearts just cannot grasp.
So, hopefully, if we reflect on this message of Jesus, we can discern that it is not what we see or experience along the path we follow that will give us contentment. Rather it is the friendship, wisdom and support of those who are with us on our journey of faith that will provide what our hearts and souls seek. It is indeed the arms that reach out to us, welcoming us to our true home. The greatest joy and contentment we should be seeking is to know that we have had the opportunity to share in the Kingdom of God adventure; that we recognize that we belong to Him who calls his lambs by name!