Gospel Reflection by Father Doug Harris - 7th July, 2019

Gospel Reflection ....

The Lord asks 72 disciples to preach the Gospel in certain towns.

They were to share their faith with people they met.

They were to go to the marketplace and house to house.

In today’s Gospel Our Lord said to the disciples, “Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals.”  Thus, with no money at all, and no spare clothing they were even more dependent on God.  Our Lord doesn’t make it easy for the 72 because He wants them to know that they will only be successful because of His power – not their own strength.

However, despite all the handicaps the mission of the 72 disciples was very, very successful/fruitful.  They came back rejoicing.  They said, ‘even devils submit it to us when we use Your Name.’”  Jesus said: “I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Bro Andrew has been smuggling Bibles into Communist and Muslim countries since the late 1950’s.  Bro Andrew, in his book, ‘God’s Smuggler,’ recounts an episode which occurred in his protestant seminary in Scotland.  Bro Andrew was sent on a mission to evangelize.  A teacher at the seminary said, “I am going to give you an exercise in trust.  Each student is given a one pound note.  You are expected to pay your own transportation, your own lodging, your food, any advertising.” 

One student said: “All on a one-pound note?”

“Worse than that.  When you get back to school after four weeks, you are expected to pay back the pound!

“Oh, you are not allowed to take up collections!  Never.  You are not to mention money at your meetings.”

I was a member of a team of five boys.  Later when I tried to reconstruct where our funds came from during those four weeks, it was hard to.  It seemed that what we needed was always just there.  Sometimes a letter would arrive from one of the boys’ parents with a little money.  Sometimes we would get a cheque in the mail from a church we had visited days or weeks earlier, for example. ‘I know you don’t need money, or you would have mentioned it,’ someone would write.  ‘But God just wouldn’t let me get to sleep tonight until I had up this in an envelope for you.’

In one little town in the highlands of Scotland we were given six hundred eggs. 

We gave away a tithe of whatever came to us as soon as we got it.  Another team that set out from school at the same time as we did was not so strict about tithing.  They set aside their ten percent alright, but they didn’t give it away immediately, “in case we run into an emergency.”

They ended their month owing money to hotels, lecture halls and markets all over Scotland while we came back to school almost ten pounds ahead (almost doubling their original five pounds – almost 100% interest from God).

The Spanish and Portuguese Missionaries in South America, the Philippines, Indonesia and other places are an example to us.

Like the 72 disciples in today’s Gospel they went to all they met to share the Gospel message.

They would invite the people to attend Mass.

These missionaries when arriving in South America would burn their ships as a sign that the evangelisation of the people of South America was their only passion.

They were never going to turn back or give up.

Of course, the missionaries were not alone.

God was with them.

Miracles abounded.

For example, Our Lady appeared in Guadalupe, Mexico and over a million Mexicans converted to Catholicism.

Also, a young man accidentally fell from a building and died.

The priest asked Our Lady of Guadalupe to restore him to life, and he did rise from the dead.

There is a message which I give to people.

For example, shopkeepers.

My best friend is Jesus.

No other person loves me as much as Jesus does.

At every moment He loves me.

The more time I spend with Him the more I desire Him.

He has given me a purpose:  to lead the people into union with Him.

I have an inner strength and peace and joy.

I know this is the way God intended life to be.

More copies can be collected from the foyer of the Church.

Please take one and photocopy it in order to give it out to people.

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord commissioned 72 disciples to “cure those who were sick and say the kingdom of God is very near to you.”

Our Lord repeated that with emphasis:

“Yet be sure of this: “the Kingdom of God is very near.”

As we respond to God’s Will, the veil separating the Kingdom on earth from the Kingdom of God vanishes or ceases to exist.

Our Blessed Mother for example, because she is Immaculately Conceived and “full of Grace”, she, even while living in this kingdom on earth was also living in the Kingdom of God.

That is why in today’s Gospel, the 72 came back saying “even the devils submit to us when we use Your Name.”

Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy.

Nothing shall ever hurt you.

Yet you do not rejoice that the evil spirits submit to you:

Rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.”

In today’s Gospel Our Lord asks us to evangelise and when we do, we will be given the gift to cure the sick, cast out devils and we will experience the kingdom of God as very near.

by Fr Doug Harris