14th Sunday - homily
You might have read the recent article in the paper which showed how today’s kids play much more indoors than outdoors. They spend so much time playing video games, using the computer, watching videos, etc. that they really aren’t interested in playing outside. It is something for all of us to keep our eye on, especially parents. It was pretty funny, though, to read that some of the kids couldn’t understand why anyone would play in a treehouse. They were saying, ‘what’s there to do there?’ I remember how much I played outside when I was a kid, and how much fun we had playing outside.
I don’t think it’s a big problem with our kids here because so many of them play sports outside so regularly. But, as a way to help bring people outside for some fun, we’re going to have an outdoor summer fun fest in two weeks here to which all St. Andrew’s parishioners are invited. You see the flyer in your bulletin and signs up for “Fun in the SON” on July 21 on the athletic field. We will have a Catholic rock band, “Crispin”, games, food, and all kinds of fun. It will be a good day for everyone to enjoy outside; pray God, it will be good weather!
Now, this event goes much deeper than just getting us outside. First, it will be like what we hear in the first reading: “when you see this, your heart will rejoice”. More than that, it will help to answer the call from Jesus in today’s Gospel. Our Lord sends the seventy-two disciples on a mission. It’s very similar to the mission he gives to the twelve apostles in Luke, chapter nine. The mission begins with prayer: “pray to the harvest master to send more laborers into the vineyard”. We usually think of this as meaning to pray for more priests and religious sisters and brothers; and rightly so. But, we are all called to be laborers in the vineyard; we are called to work for the Kingdom of God in some way on earth. If there are people we know who have left the vineyard – family members, friends, co-workers, parishioners – we should pray that they return.
Next, Christ calls us to bring peace to people’s homes. St. Luke commonly understands the word ‘peace’ to mean salvation. So, Christ is calling us to bring salvation - to spread the Kingdom – to our neighbors’ homes. We hear this call, and we want to be a part of the mission. How do we do it? I have two ideas. First, we can invite someone to this outdoor concert on the 21st. We could invite someone who wouldn’t ordinarily go to such an event. This is a way for us to build up the Kingdom in our own community.
The second idea is a bit more involved. It is that families – in particular, married couples – to go into each other’s homes and pray together. A great prayer is the rosary. Couples could pray the rosary together – praying for those who have left the vineyard…praying for those who have left the Church. It would be a situation where the laborers in the vineyard are praying to the harvest master to send more laborers through the intercession of his mother.
After praying the rosary, couples could discuss their faith. They could reflect on the mysteries of the rosary which they had just prayed or other scenes from the Gospel. It can be really amazing to hear the insights of others about living out our faith. They can really illuminate the Gospel for us, and help us to grow in our faith. Couples would be experiencing what God is talking about in the first reading – “the Lord’s power shall be known to his servants”. It would be a way for the peace to spread, for the Kingdom to grow, and for God’s power and love to come through his laborers, his servants. Again, “when you see this, you will rejoice”.
The mission of the twelve, the mission of the seventy-two, and the mission for all of us here at St. Andrew’s are all centered on Christ, especially in the Eucharist. We read in Acts 2:42 that the Apostles centered their community and their mission on the Eucharist. The early Church and the current Church declares the Eucharist as the center of her life. So, too, for us, the Eucharist is the center of our mission. What we’re really talking about here is bringing people to (or back to) the Eucharist. We are fed with the Bread of Life and we want others to be fed as well.
As we receive the Eucharist today, let us ask the Lord to give us strength and courage to go out from here on mission. May the Eucharist help us to spread peace…to spread salvation…to spread the Kingdom…to spread God’s love in our community.