July 3, 2022
A reflection by Sister Therese O’Grady, OSB on the scripture readings: Isaiah 66:10-14c; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
The following section regarding Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 is quoted from Denis McBride’s 1983 book The Gospel of Luke: A Reflective Commentary.
“Jesus is now on the road to Jerusalem, the place where his mission will be accomplished.
But he does not have all the time in the world and there is an urgency in the air about spreading the message.
Jesus appoints and commissions 70 others to go out; to heal and to preach of the kingdom.
The number seventy is probably symbolic: there were reckoned to be 70 Gentile nations in the world (Gen:10). Seventy elders accompanied Moses to the holy mountain (Ex 24:11) and 70 Sanhedrin served in the temple.
To spread his message, Jesus needs to start a movement, he needs to gather chosen people together and move them out to spread the kingdom.
He needs help.
Jesus is dependent on the various talents of his chosen ones to help in the task of spreading the news of the kingdom.
He needs their preaching, their prayer, their ability to communicate, their halting understanding, their quiet faith, their unformed theology, their hesitant insights, their selective moments of bravery.
And he has to handle their misunderstandings, their confusion, their own preferences about how things should be done, their varied abilities in dealing with people, their view of the company and its future in the real world.
Jesus did not wait until all these issues were clarified and solved before he sent them out.
He sent them out as they were, and risked his word in their frailty.
The process of sending out the disciples continues the process of the Incarnation.
Again, the Word will be risked in flesh, it will assume human form, sometimes in the most unexpected places.
For the disciples, the mission is an adventure into the unknown.”
They have the peace of Christ to offer in the homes of the people.
Now I want to switch from the years of 30-33AD to 1965 AD.
This passage brings to mind the early days of Benet Hill Monastery and its formation into the community of sisters being sent from the Benedictine Monastery of Mt. St. Scholastica in Atchison KS in 1964-65.
We each have a story of our being sent to start a totally new monastery in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There were 77 of us, a few more than Jesus had.
Some arriving by Amtrak, some by car, and some by Greyhound, riding all night carrying eggs and other preparations for breakfast upon arrival to the newly purchased “Priory building” on Chelton Rd.
The call was to be teachers, continuing the mission with those who had already been teaching in the public and catholic schools in southern Colorado and Denver. Each sister arrived with her trunk containing all her personal needs.
The call is the same as the invitation that Jesus gave his 72 disciples, 2000yrs ago and now, in 2022 in the Black Forest on 3190 Benet Lane: “Go and share my Word in the various towns and villages…”
On June 14 we celebrated our “Founding Day” and 57 years later we are no longer teaching children, but we have continued to hear that call in many adult ministries. We walk with people in their spiritual journeys, as well with migrant and trafficked women, and with Oblates of St. Benedict. We are continuing the call to share the monastic charism of Benedict and Scholastica, which is also a call to live the gospel like the disciples, for whom the call was an adventure into the unknown.
I think most of us heard Jesus say to us “Be happy that your names are written in heaven.”