First Reading (Isaiah 66: 10-14)
Thus says the LORD: Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort. When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the LORD's power shall be known to his servants.
Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 66: 1-7, 16, 20)
Refrain: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
1) Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise. Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
2) "Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you, sing praise to your name!"
Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
3) He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him. He rules by his might forever.
4) Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer or his kindness!
Second Reading (Galatians 6: 14-18)
Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
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 laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers 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 laborer 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.' Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.' Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town. The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name. Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
[Copyright 1970, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2001 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Copyright 1970, 1997, 1998 Contraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
The English translation of some Psalm responses, some Alleluia and Gospel verses and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, some Summaries, and the Titles and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass copyright 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc., Washington D.C. All rights reserved.
The poetic English translation of the sequences of the Roman Missal are taken from the Roman Missal approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, copyright 1964 by the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Inc. All rights reserved.]
-Laborers for the Harvest and A Man's True Glory, from The Gospel of Luke. Copyright 1975 by William Barclay. Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland.
-The Closing Words from The Letter to the Galatians. Copyright 1975 by William Barclay. Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland.
- Peace. From Timely Homilies, pp. 140-143, copyright 1990 by William J. Bausch. Twenty-third Publications, Mystic, CT.
- Catechism: #'s 293-301 (creation and the glory of God). Copyright 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference, Washington, DC. [As recommended in A Homily Sourcebook (The Universal Catechism), copyright 1993 by N. Abeyasingha, the Pastoral Press, Washington, DC.]
- Celebrating the Word, pp. 221-223, copyright 1995 by J. D. Crichton, Columba Press, Dublin. Distributed in the US by Twenty-third Publications, Mystic, CT.
- The Cultural World of Jesus, pp. 106-108. Copyright 1997 by John J. Pilch, the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.
- Days of the Lord, Volume 6, pp. 112-119. Copyright 1991 by the Order of Saint Benedict. The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.
-Freedom Song. From Dynamic Preaching, copyright 1998 by Seven Worlds Corporation, 310 Simmons Road, Knoxville, TN, 37922.
- Footprints on the Mountain, pp. 466-470, by Roland J. Faley. Copyright 1994 by the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ.
- Responding to Today's World, from Good News. Copyright 1998 by Rev. Joseph T. Nolan. Liturgical Publications, Inc., 2875 South James Drive, New Berlin, WI. 53151.
- The Gospel of the Lord, pp.142-143, copyright 1991 by Francis J. Moloney, the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.
-Homilies for the Christian People, pp. 495-497, by Mikkel Thompson. Copyright 1989 by Pueblo Publishing Company, New York, New York and 1991 by the Order of St. Benedict, Collegeville, MN. The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.
- Interpretation (A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching): Luke, by Fred B. Craddock, pp. 144-148. Copyright 1990 by John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.
-Living the Word, p.192, copyright 1996 by Tom Clancy. The Columba Press, Dublin, Ireland. Distributed in the US by Twenty-third Publications, Mystic, CT.
- Preaching the Lectionary, pp. 482-484, by Reginald H. Fuller. Copyright 1984 by the Order of St. Benedict. the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.
- The Marvelous Meaning of the Cross, copyright 1996 by Rev. Eric Ritz, from Preaching Through the Church Year, Volume 2, Seven Worlds Corporation, Knoxville, TN.
-Sing a New Song, p. 165-166 (Psalm66), by Irene Nowell. Copyright 1993 by the Order of St. Benedict. The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.
-Sunday Homilies, pp. 286-288, copyright 1995 by Liam Swords. Twenty-third Publications, Mystic, CT 06355.
- Texts for Preaching (Proper 9), pp.411-418, by Cousar, Gaventa, McCann and Newsome, copyright 1994 by Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.
-Voicing a Thought on Sunday: Homilies and Prayers of the Faithful, pp. 338-339, copyright 1991 by Desmond Knowles. Twenty-third Publications, Mystic, CT.
- The Word In and Out of Season, pp.48-51, copyright 1991 by Richard Viladesau. Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ.
In our gospel passage today, our Lord sends his disciples on their mission to prepare towns for his arrival. One of the first things he tells them to say to those in each house that they visit is "Peace to this house". The word "peace", or "shalom" is a word which has a depth and variety of meanings. First of all, it means "May the blessings of God be upon you". "Peace" further means being reconciled with God and with one another. So the disciples were being sent to bring God's peace to any household which was willing to receive God's word.
Now although Jesus sent the disciples forth to wish people peace, the peace they offered was a different peace than that which Jesus offered his disciples after his resurrection. His disciples spoke of a peace with God that was yet to be achieved. When Jesus wished his followers peace (and he did so only after his resurrection), he was wishing them a peace that had now become a reality. His death brought about that reconciliation with God which is one of those deeper meanings of the word.
In the second reading from his letter to the Galatians, Paul tells them that the cross is central to the faith of every Christian. With respect to every Christian, "all that matters is that one is created anew. Peace and mercy on all who follow this rule of life." So peace finds it root in the cross. Let me illustrate with the following true story.
- A missionary came home to spend his last days at his order's main house as he succumbed to cancer. At one point near the end he called in his superior and related the following story:
"I was lying here, trying to pray and was finding it very difficult. As I was gazing at a picture of the crucified head of Christ, the eyes seemed to grow luminous. And suddenly, somehow, I felt myself drawn into the picture and found myself at Calvary. I arrived precisely at the time and moment when Jesus was being crucified and the soldiers were hammering the nails into his hands. And suddenly I realized that one of the soldiers' faces was mine! I asked the Lord, 'Are my sins crucifying you?' Christ turned to me, and with a gentle smile, said, 'Tony, whatever they are, your sins are forgiven. My peace I give to you.' And then the face, my face, on that soldier disappeared, and I kind of came out of it. And ever since, I have found this enormous peace, that peace that's in the gospel, that Jesus spoke about." And so, as the end drew near, the priest's family gathered around him. He said goodbye to all of them: his brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, and his mother and father.
But what struck everybody who went into the room - and they all said the same thing - was that when they entered his room, they had this unspeakable sense of peace. It just emanated from the room, and emanated from him, and when he spoke with them, as agitated and sad as they were, they seemed to drink in that peace. Then he said to them, "I've only a few minutes left. I have one dying wish for you. My wish for you is the peace that I have received from knowing that Jesus not only died for my sins, but that he loves me with such an incredible love. At this point in my life, I'm looking forward to seeing once more this Christ who loves me so much and who gives me such peace.' A few minutes later he closed his eyes and died. And he died with a big smile on his face. (1)
Peace is ours because Christ died on the cross for us. Through him, we have been reconciled with God. But this is only the beginning. Just as Christ sent the disciples out ahead of him to prepare for his coming, so does he send us out now to once again prepare for his coming. And how do we do that? By bringing his peace and reconciliation to others, which I think is well illustrated in the following story. The author writes:
- This was the fourth card shop I had visited in a futile effort to find just the right card for my father's birthday. I could not honestly choose one of the beautiful ones that proclaimed, "You were always there for me". Rather, I needed one that admitted, "You were never there for me". Other years I had picked out a generic "For my Father" card that was rather nondescript. This year my search was fruitless. Finally I decided, "Oh, just this once I will send him a really special one even if I don't want to!" I picked out a beautiful, expensive card that said, "You were always there for me when I needed you."
Before mailing it, I had a long talk with the Lord. "Lord, I know your Word tells me that I shouldn't let bitterness dwell in my heart. I forgave my father years ago, but I haven't forgotten all of his injustices to me. And he has never even acknowledged them. They seem to lurk in my subconscious like a pit of vipers that frequently comes out to nip at me. But since your Scripture (Hebrews12:15) warns me to make sure that bitterness doesn't spring up and trouble me, I'll send him this card, even though he doesn't deserve it."
When he received the card, my Dad telephoned me long distance and admitted, "I've been sitting here looking at this beautiful card you sent me and I must confess that the words in it do not really apply to me. I neglected you all your life." Hardly able to believe my ears, I reassured him, "Dad, don't you worry about that. You did the best you could. You did lead me to the Lord when I was a teen and my Heavenly Father has always been there for both of us. He forgave my sins and yours and we shall one day see Him in Heaven." Upon uttering those words, I could feel those vipers inside my soul slither back to the pit of hell where they belonged. The Lord gave me the blessing of true forgiveness toward my father that I had been unable to muster in my own strength.
Only two weeks later, I was standing in the funeral home by my father's casket, amazed at the long procession of mourners who offered me their condolences. Many had tears in their eyes and were obviously deeply moved at the sudden passing of my father. One said that he had been like a father to him, another that he had made the Bible come alive for her in Sunday School, and still another that he had been a perfect neighbor, someone who would do odd jobs and never accept a cent in payment. On and on it went. I kept thinking: "Do these people have the right room here in the funeral home? Can this possibly be my father whom they are talking about? It was obvious that the father whom I had known was not the same person that these people had known.
At the close of the viewing, I sat alone by my father's casket, pondering what might have been. The tears flowed, not for what had been, but for what could have been. But at least the Lord gave me the opportunity to be reconciled with him two weeks before his death. And the bitterness that threatened to engulf my soul is now gone.
Someone once said, "Forgiveness is not a case of holy amnesia that wipes out the past. Instead it is the experience of healing that drains the poison from the wound!" (source unknown). How grateful I am that God led me to send my father that very special birthday card. It was a blessing to both of us. (2)
Because of her act of love, the author of this story brought about reconciliation with her father. But she did more than that by her act of selflessness: she brought peace into her own life, especially when her father died so soon thereafter.
We are called to be Christ's disciples in our own day. We are called to be agents of his peace in the lives of others. And we can do this primarily by first letting go of our anger and bitterness and then performing acts of love and forgiveness, which also have the added effect of bringing peace into our own lives, a peace that this world could never give.
1. Father Tony. Reprinted with permission from Peace, in Timely Homilies, pp. 140-143. Copyright 1990 by William J. Bausch. Twenty-third Publications, Mystic, CT.
2. A Very Special Birthday Card. By Delores E. Bius. Reprinted with the author's permission from God's Unexpected Blessings, pp. 115-116. Copyright 1998 by Starburst Publishers, Lancaster, PA. (Delores has sold over 1,800 articles and stories in twenty-six (26) years of writing. She is an instructor for American Christian Writers and speaks at conferences and retreats. She is a widow and the mother of five sons. She may be contacted at: 6400 S. Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, IL., or by calling 773-586-4384.)
(Copyright 2016 by the Spirit through Deacon Sil Galvan, with a little help from the friends noted above. Permission is freely granted for use, in whole or in part, in oral presentations. For permission to use in writing, please contact the human intermediary at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
FOURTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (C)
July 3, 2022
Lord Jesus, you brought us reconciliation with the Father through your death on the cross. Lord, have mercy.
Christ Jesus, you brought us peace through your death on the cross. Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you send us into the world to bring peace and reconciliation to others. Lord, have mercy.
Celebrant: The Lord Jesus endured suffering and death on the cross in order to reconcile us with the Father. Assured of this reconciliation, we can confidently bring our needs to the Father.
Deacon/Lector: Our response is "Lord, hear our prayer".
That the leaders of the Church will be models of forgiveness and reconciliation to the members of their flocks, we pray to the Lord.
That the leaders of the nations of the world will do all in their power to bring peace on earth, especially in Ukraine, we pray to the Lord.
That all those who are suffering from illness or grief at the loss of a loved one may find comfort and peace in their faith, we pray to the Lord.
That the members of our parish family may proclaim God's peace and forgiveness to others by all that we say and do, we pray to the Lord.
That all of our brothers and sisters will be treated as our equals in the sight of God regardless of their race, color, nationality or religion, we pray to the Lord.
That all of those who died in the recent shootings will be welcomed into the loving arms of their Savior who suffered and died for them and that their grieving families will find strength in their faith and in the support of their community, we pray to the Lord.
For all of the intentions we hold in our hearts and which we now recall in silence. (Pause) For all of these intentions, we pray to the Lord.
Celebrant: Gracious Father, you sent your only Son to bring us reconciliation and peace with you. Grant us the grace of your Spirit to bring his peace, forgiveness and reconciliation to others and thereby bring peace into our own lives as well. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.