WelCom July 2019:
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Luke 10:1-9
At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is abundant but the labourers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household.” If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the labourer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.”’
‘Carry no money bags, no sack, no sandals’
A reflection on Luke 10:1-12
Fr Tom Lawn
This is an interesting Gospel story. It portrays a very different cultural style to our current one. I live again in the house that I lived in during the 90s and 00s. In those days we were two priests, a secretary and a part-time housekeeper,
and for a few months most years a pastoral worker.
Today I live there alone but come the morning I am joined there by one priest; soon there will be another, and three to six women depending on the day of the week, all bringing their energy and commitment. Then during the day men and women volunteers call in to fulfil a variety of tasks, some organisational, and some pastoral care.
Our Parish is now the whole city of New Plymouth and includes Bell Block to the north and Oakura and Okato to the west. It is a bustling community of communities, lots of energy, lots of prayerful pondering, lots of ideas, and then some of the fruits are made reality.
As I think about our model, I notice though how different it is from the Jesus model. It seems to me that our Church is in a transitional time. The clerical model is losing its grip on the Church. Do we need to think more deeply about what ‘carry no money bags, no sack, no sandals’ means for our time and place?
Our staff; women, priests and volunteers, all strive to carry our Lord’s peace in our hearts. We accept offers of hospitality, we offer hospitality. Most of the time we have open hearts and minds, listening ears, and a prayerful and hope filled presence. I believe we are giving a witness that is preparing the way of the Lord as he journeys with us and reaches out to the bruised and broken, which is what we all are. I still wonder though, does the present (corporate) model need to be more challenged by the model proposed by Jesus, the Risen Lord?
‘The kingdom of God is at hand’ that is the promise. I read recently that ‘attraction, not promotion’ opens hearts and minds to our Lord and his Father. Loving, warm, and joyful hearts and minds witness to the kingdom, that reign, which is present in our midst. Let’s pray that our minds and hearts are such, let’s pray that our ministry is helping parishioners to have such minds and hearts – then the ‘twelve’, the ‘seventy-two’, the labourers, will all be bearers of that peace and healing, which is true of God’s reign.
Fr Tom Lawn is Assistant Priest, The Catholic Parish of New Plymouth, and Vicar Forane Taranaki Pastoral Area.